angerWe can forgive people without deciding that what they’ve done is okay. We can find compassion for people, even if we cannot comprehend what has driven them to do the things they’ve done. I think these are important distinctions to make, because a lot of people seem to feel the need to hold onto their rage in order to make the other party pay, but when we cling to our rage, we’re the ones who suffer. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself, not the other person.

How do we have compassion for someone who’s hurt us? Maybe we’re dealing with someone who’s come out of so much abuse, they know no other way but to perpetuate what was done to them. This does not make their hurtful behavior okay; it simply gives us a lens of understanding to look through. Maybe we can release the grip on our pain and allow ourselves to soften. Maybe we’re dealing with a person who has a personality disorder that renders her unable to empathize or sympathize. That can’t be an easy or fulfilling way to move through life.

You might be dealing with someone who knows right from wrong, but chooses wrong. Maybe you’re dealing with a person who is truly focused on what’s good for her or him, and nothing else. I would argue that most people are not trying to hurt us, and most people do care, but there are certainly a few people here and there who are in it for number one, who don’t care about you, or how you feel. I’d still argue that’s a crappy existence, and I wouldn’t want a life like that.

Some things can be taken that you can never have back, like your innocence, or your childhood. How the f&ck do you forgive that? You can swim in your rage, or you can mourn and grieve for what was taken from you. You can lean into that sadness, that despair, and let it take you out to sea for awhile. Allow yourself to feel everything you need to feel around that, and then release it, free yourself. Otherwise, you have to move through life with this anchor of pain, and it will pull you away from love and it will pull you away from creating something you’ve never known. Then these things that were done to you will render your present and your future unlivable, and the person or people who hurt you in the first place get to keep hurting you.

If you’re caught up in a linear story about what’s happened and how these things have affected you and brought you to this point and made you the way you are, I would say, rewrite the story if it’s miserable. Create something out of thin air and hope that feels like a life you want to be living. If you aren’t there yet, then whatever you’ve been doing is not working, so try something else. Get help if you need it. There are so many healing modalities available—yoga, seated meditation, therapy, body work. Just explore and keep exploring until you find a path that starts to bring you some relief, some peace, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Don’t cling to your rage like a shield, because it will block the love. Put it down. Truly. Life is too short for too much of that.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

You can find my books here <3

2 thoughts on “Compassion”

  1. Thanks for your post, Ally, Recently I’ve been having a hard time because I wrote my ex boyfriend a nice email for his birthday and he never replied. It pains me that he may not have wanted to hear from me, but he has meant so much to me that I wanted to let him know that I wished him only the warmest wishes on his birthday. I’m having trouble moving forward from the pain that he did not respond. I didn’t even know I would react that way. I hope on some level he could understand that I only contacted him out of the best intentions.

    1. Hey Christina,

      I’m sorry you’re going through that. Being ignored or unacknowledged, rejected or dismissed is so so so painful. There are a ton of reasons you might not have heard back, though, and it’s never safe to try to guess at where someone is coming from. You might consider that it’s simply too soon for him, or too painful. Try to just wish him well, and take care of your tender heart. Sending you love and a hug.

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