At Hoffman we talked about compassion, and defined it as “the wish for another being to be free from suffering.” Our teachers taught that this is different than seeing another’s pain and believing that we are obligated to fix it.

We cannot fix everyone’s pain, and if we feel that we must, then we may turn away from seeing it at all.

I recently got in an argument because I wanted to fix instead of see another’s suffering. A family member is struggling, but instead of providing compassionate listening, I yelled at her because I wanted her to tell me how to fix the situation.

But there is no easy fix, and it isn’t necessarily my responsibility to do the fixing. The compassionate response would have been a kind ear, listening to her pain – and wishing that she were free from it, without guilt that I cannot instantly fix it.

Do you always want to fix? What would happen if you just listened and felt without the ‘should do’s’ or guilt?

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