The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes. ― Pema Chödrön
This quote came to me at an opportune moment after a friend told me she didn’t visit or contact me in the last three years because she loved me too much and it caused her pain to see me sick. That was a weird and surreal thing to hear since it is when we are sick that we need the practical ministrations of love and yet she was sincere and she is not a cruel person. This quote by Pema allowed me to feel additional compassion.
Compassion is not approval. It doesn’t mean her behavior was okay. Compassion can sometimes simply be understanding and accepting humanity’s frailty.
These are my two favorite books by Pema, though I think everything I’ve read speaks to me:
● When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
● The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times
Recently a friend gifted me these CDs and they were incredibly helpful as well:
● Unconditional Confidence: Instructions for Meeting Any Experience with Trust and Courage