On sympathy and power

As a founder of the media platform, content of power and empathy is often part of my discussion with clients and students. One question that often arises is how to be in the same power and compassion at the same time.

This week I got a chance to experience this combination of energy. Someone I know has had a hard time and the last 6 months has been a hostility to those around him. He has alienated his many relationships and this assignment has seemed to make him even angry. I have often prayed for him, as I am more acquaintance than a friend, I have not taken part in situations.

This weekend, things changed when he decided to target me with his abusive behavior. He did it in such a way that I did not give me a chance to respond immediately and I got the day to work out and choose my next step carefully.

His attack on me had been about something personal and had been based on nothing like I had not done what I had been accused of. I realized that I could choose:

1) Responding to the same energy as him – ie. attack him again.

My problem with this is twofold. One, it's not my way to be this kind of person. Two, it will not solve anything to reflect him how he is other than possibly making him feel worse.

2) To respond with compassion and offer him space to free whatever he needs and offer the mirror of love.

My challenge to this, though I take this route sometimes, seems that the mirror was offering him and it did not seem to be helpful. Also, I'm more powerful and compassionate than compassionate with one.

3) To find a way to offer both sympathy and strength at the same time.

I chose # 3. I realized that while I could love him and pray for him, absolutely, I had to hold my power in my answer to him. Too many around him had retired and let him be insulting, which offered him a bed to be both offensive and lonely. I decided to stay in my strength and show him that I would not take his abuse and I could still love him at the same time.

I held my strength and compassion and it was an interesting experience. I told him how he was working was ignorant and I would not allow it to continue. I told him when he was ready to be what I saw in him, powerful and good … in pain and ready to take steps to work through the situation … he could contact me. I realized that he believed that it was not him that it was a part of him in pain and he allowed him to lead him and run out of anger rather than allow him to heal. I told him he had to find another way and that there were different ways, he would have to take steps to find them. I confirm that I also knew that he had the power in his own right to do so.

First, he did not know how to respond to spending six months having people drive from him without staying. Then he moved and laughed a little. I assume he realized that others were standing by him and not afraid. I watched him soften a little. He did not answer orally, just shook his head and laughed hugely and that was all right. No attachment came from me to go beyond this. We left the situation without needing more.

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I have never heard of it again. My friend invited him to leave for a while. I know he finds his way.


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