The Importance of Compassion
In the final days of the Obama Presidency he has exercised the tradition of all out going presidents by pardoning and commuting the sentences of some people who have committed crimes. The most newsworthy of these was the commuting of the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former US Army Private who was convicted of leaking classified material to Wikileaks.
It got me thinking of the importance of compassion in therapeutic terms. We are very often likely to be hard on ourselves and others closest to us when we make mistakes, either deliberately or accidentally. This hard treatment often leads to other problems which dog us for the rest of our lives. Psychological disturbances, physical and mental distress are often tied to our treatment of ourselves and those around us. I will often talk to clients about the importance of forgiveness, and whilst compassion is not the same as forgiveness the two things do often walk the same line.
We could all do with being a little kinder to ourselves and to those closest to us. We could benefit from the simple act of compassion and being able to move on. By showing compassion, especially to ourselves, we are showing that we have the capacity to recognise our flaws and move forward. Perhaps we should all give some thought to those we have treated less than kindly and make today the day we show that we are compassionate and take appropriate action.