• Susan J Hilger

When Authenticity Leads to Compassion


How many ways can I thank Brene Brown for putting this idea into words that has cleared a few thoughts up for me.


“It’s hard to practice compassion when we’re struggling with our authenticity or when our worthiness is off balance.” Brene Brown


Do you feel like you sometimes blurt out the worst words at the worst moment when compassion is what’s needed? Is it often hard for you to extend your heart to a close friend when they are faced with a life altering event?


This idea, the relation between vulnerability, authenticity and compassion has been coming up some for me, making me wonder how someone who cares for others so much can show little empathy at times.


Thinking back to more than one or two instances where responses to certain situations didn’t make sense to me, I wonder. Is this a fear of exposure or vulnerability? There are some people who want to hear all about you, but struggle to show their real self or share their own tales.


It’s painful to feel like we have to hide who we are. I’ve been that person, we can’t come out to live and feel fully. And there are people who are great ‘on stage’, comfortable always performing. Yet they hesitate to soften and let their walls down.


I once had an instructor in a class I took as an adult who broke me down in class in an effort to ‘help’ me with something. She kept on me until I cried, oh my did I cry, and cry. I returned to my hotel in tears and cried for a few hours. I am not sure I have ever felt that exposed or embarrassed. Considering the scope of our class, I expected to see a sign of empathy or compassion. I didn’t, not that day, not the next.


At the time, she seemed evil, she insisted nobody comfort me. But now as I look back, I see that as long as she is on stage, she can’t show us who she is, including her compassionate caring self.


Where am I going with this? I’m going here: Any time you feel like you can’t seem to give what you feel is warranted, your heart feels kind of, sort of, closed, do a self check on how guarded you may be feeling. Ask yourself what you are afraid to show or feel.


Whatever you do, don’t be hard on yourself, no shoulds are permitted. Give yourself space to open, to soften, to feel. When we don’t feel comfortable with our true voice, we struggle offering ourself or our love to another. Take your time.

Love you.

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