“Compassion sometimes requires us to be firm, to disappoint, and to say no. True compassion is giving from a place of authenticity and integrity as opposed to giving from a place of obligation and expectation.” -Candace Thoth
As a society we praise individuals who sacrifice their lives for the well-being of others. We idolize individuals who continuously give and those who always seem “nice.” For many years, I truly believed that my purpose was to make others feel good even at the expense of my own well-being. This mentality quickly led to compassion fatigue and burnout, but it ultimately allowed me to see where I had been untrue to myself and others. Here are some of the misconceptions I had about compassion:
A compassionate person should rarely say no to others.
A compassionate person should always put others first.
A compassionate person should always makes people feel good.
A compassionate person should always go out of their way to help.
A compassionate person should “fix it” whenever someone is suffering.
The above statements are just a few of the many misconceptions I had about what it means to be compassionate. Contrary to my intentions, operating from these beliefs resulted in being inauthentic and becoming resentful. Giving because we think we should or because we feel obligated to give is not true giving. Taking on the weight of the world and trying to “fix” things to make people feel better is ultimately harmful to ourselves and others. When we are over-responsible for others, we rob them of their opportunity to walk their own path. Additionally, we add unnecessary stress to our lives and sabotage our well-being. Sometimes the most effective way to help someone is by telling them no or even letting them go.
Genuine compassion means being true to ourselves, saying no when we mean no, living with integrity, and respecting people’s path. There is no need to “sacrifice” our integrity or well-being in order to be genuinely compassionate. When we are true to ourselves, we are at peace, which is the most compassionate thing we can do for the world.
One of the most significant things that attracted me to Hawaii is the “Aloha Spirit” or the spirit of love and giving. I was touched by how relaxed and compassionate people seemed around the island. My boyfriend used to say it seemed like people were being paid to be nice.
Aloha has a lot of meanings and it is way more than just a greeting. Aloha also means love. To say ‘I love you’ in Hawaiian, you would say ‘Aloha Au Ia ‘Oe.’ Aloha is also similar to the word Namaste. It is a recognition of the Divinity in another person and honoring our interconnectedness. Another translation pertains to joyful celebration of the present moment, literally translated to sharing life energy joyfully in the present moment (source). In Hawaii, sharing the “ha” or the life energy/breath is a very sacred activity, it is an allowance of someone to be in your space and a transmission of knowledge, love, and energy. So you see, Aloha has a very deep meaning and it extends far beyond just a greeting, it is a way of life and an attitude. Aloha is related to how we see each other and how we honor one another in the present moment.
Aloha Center for Transformation & Wellness is having an Aloha Challenge this week. The challenge is to complete at least one act of kindness per day. This is an effort to spread the Aloha Spirit throughout the world. Let’s all celebrate the inherent joy in the present moment and spread ALOHA. Please join the celebration on our Facebook page.
Mahalo for reading! May you experience infinite peace and blessings!
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! I had so much fun on the empowerment call on Wednesday with Rosetta Thurman and the Happy Black Woman community! The call gave me an opportunity to really reflect on the importance of self-love. I’m really happy that we are shifting our focus within this Valentine’s Day, because it’s time to focus inward. So many of us do not care for or love ourselves the way we deserve. When I pass out my “little love cards” and see people’s joyful reactions, I’m constantly reminded of how important it is to feel loved. We need love more than anything else in this Universe, and we need our own love first before we are able to give and receive it willingly.
One of the most valuable lessons I have learned on my life journey is how important it is to love myself. When I began to genuinely love myself, everyone around me benefited. To this day, wherever I go, I see how people are simply drawn to the positive energy of someone in harmony with themselves. And that is why I support the statement that self-love and self-care are acts of compassion. When we are in love with who we are and really promote our well-being, we are literally gifts to the world. We are better in our relationships and in everything we do. We become a tangible source of joy for everyone and everything around us. And let me not forget to mention that ultimately, we are One; self-love is synonymous to universal love. May you have a wonderful day full of love and celebration of the beautiful creation that you are!
Mahalo for reading! May you experience infinite peace and blessings!
“We are made for loving, if we don’t love, we will be like plants without water.” -Desmond Tutu
A few weeks ago, my boyfriend asked me to describe my ideal day. My response was that I would hold up a sign letting people know that they are loved. When I realized that there is absolutely nothing holding me back from creating my ideal day now, I decided to get started on making a sign. Before I could even design my sign, I saw an advertisement for MOO Cards, which are tiny cards with beautiful designs on them. I knew immediately that MOO cards would be perfect for what I wanted to do! I picked out a design, meditated on what I wanted to communicate and was inspired to share the message “May this card serve as a reminder that you are loved.”
The cards came in yesterday and I absolutely love them! I’m thrilled to be able to spread love and positive energy in a way that people can keep. Today was quite memorable because I gave a card to a woman and she immediately teared up. Her response was a reminder that love matters more than anything else in this world and it is something we all need on a continual basis. Without love, our life has no meaning. I look forward to continuing to share this journey of spreading love with you all!
May you experience infinite peace & blessings! Mahalo for reading!
Boundaries are important and essential in developing healthy and fulfilling interpersonal interactions and relationships. Boundaries are a way to communicate our level of self-respect and dignity. Without boundaries, we set ourselves up to be disrespected and mistreated whether it’s intentional or not. The things we remain silent about or do not state clearly will not be honored and may even be challenged or ignored. Passively allowing unacceptable behaviors (e.g., disrespect, abuse, etc) to happen to us does not benefit anyone. Boundaries are important to set with everyone we meet. This past week, I had my boundaries challenged in an unexpected way which fortunately served as a reminder of the importance of having a clear awareness of my personal boundaries as well as stating them in a way that can be clearly understood.
I encourage us to view boundaries from the perspective of compassionate limit-setting as opposed to guardedness. When boundaries are set in a respectful and loving way, they can deeply enhance interpersonal interactions and relationships. Below are some self-reflective questions regarding boundaries that you may find helpful.
What are some of your boundaries? (e.g., behaviors that are acceptable versus unacceptable)
How often do you communicate your boundaries to others?
Which situations do you find it more challenging to maintain your boundaries?
What feelings are elicited when your boundaries are breached? How do you cope with these feelings?
What are some ways to enhance your ability to maintain your boundaries?
Mahalo for reading! May you experience infinite peace and blessings~
“Kindness is the flower that produces unlimited seeds.” –Candace Thoth
Last week, I went to the store to purchase flowers for a friend and the cashier said something along the lines of people no longer do such kind things anymore. Initially, I was surprised by her comment because I feel like I’m constantly showered by kindness and I recently read an article about a group of people coming together to push a train in order to save a woman stuck in a gap (click here for the article) so I was feeling really positive. However, upon further reflection I realized that many of the smaller, daily acts of kindness go unrecognized. Small acts of kindness are happening all of the time but they frequently get overshadowed by grievances or larger acts of kindness. My friends tease me for seeing the world through rose-colored glasses (which is true) but I also overlook the extent to which kindness exists in the world. This week, I made it my intention to recognize and honor the daily acts of kindness that often go unnoticed. Below is a list of a few of the things I observed this week:
A delivery man at Starbucks accidentally dropped several cartons of milk on the floor and instantly several people rushed over to help him clean it all up. I didn’t hear a single complaint, in fact, everyone was more concerned with whether he was okay since he seemed startled and upset with himself.
While my friend went out of town, her neighbor tended to her tree and cleared her driveway of fallen fruit.
A woman drove around the parking lot to compliment me on a dress I was wearing.
A young child, who was probably about three years old, used every ounce of strength he had to open a heavy door (about four times his height) for his family and me.
I was thinking aloud, stating that I was going to have to take a trip to Michael’s for art supplies but next thing I know, my friend shows up with a 315-piece art supply box and magazines for scrapbooking.
This very kind man at my job always takes time out of his day to converse with me in Spanish. This week, he taught me how to say dimples (camanances or hoyuelos).
My coworker told me while he was cleaning, he found the audio version of Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Now. He gave it to me, stating that he thought it would be put to good use.
A few months ago, I encouraged many of my friends to become mentors. Now, one of them is mentoring about six youth and has taken on the role of matching mentors/mentees. She e-mailed me last night asking about whether she could match a few of the mentees with a friend and me. I was touched by her dedication to facilitating the best match for the mentees.
I was updating a list of local social skills groups and one of the people I called had no idea what I was referencing but took about three extra minutes to locate and provide me with a number to a different organization that could help. Given that she certainly was not required to go out of her way to provide me with numbers to other organizations, I was incredibly grateful for her willingness to help me.
My coworker brought home-grown tomatoes from her garden for everyone in the office.
My conclusion from this activity is kindness happens all of the time. Additionally, small acts of kindness are only small because we deem them as such. Being fully present when these acts occur makes them feel quite large and the “awe effect” lasts longer. Look no further than right in front of you for love and kindness.
Thank you for reading! Wishing you all infinite peace!