I’ve got Thick Skin and an Elastic Heart

Of all the qualities a Human Mind can possess, I would rate compassion and resilience as among the most important of them all.

Compassion

Compassion is not kindness. Compassion is not forgiveness. Compassion is not pleasing-others. Compassion is not about being nice.

Compassion is a much deeper quality where you understand the emotional state of the other from the core. Compassion requires practice. It is the ability to look at every person as ‘right’ in their own way. Compassion is about being very present to the other, so that you can really feel what is happening within them even when they are being rude, disrespectful or hurtful.  

Compassion is a lens that you put on. But when the lens is put on right, it is very easy to decide what you need to do next in a relationship. Sometimes compassion might ask you to be gentle and sometimes compassion can ask you to be harsh as well.

For example : A mother realises that her son has committed a murder. A compassionate mother might fully understand what her son is going through and why he has turned into a criminal. But her compassion will also tell her that he needs to face the consequence of his actions because that will force him to confront his inner pain. Her compassion might get her to call the police herself knowing fully well that her son might hate her for it. But her compassion will tell her that it is far better that he goes through this external pain of imprisonment, because there is a possibility that it might push him to change something from within and not hurt anymore from within.

When you have Compassion, it also directs itself towards your own self. Compassion includes everybody in the same light, including yourself. Compassion is the basis for a healthy Self-Esteem. Compassion is the basis for love, peace and harmony. Compassion is a lens through which you look at life. 

Resilience

Resilience is not about being strong. Resilience is not being numb to your feelings. Resilience is not about being aggressive. Resilience is not about being positive at all times. 

Resilience is about how you deal with trauma from within – death of a loved one, loss of a job, betrayal in a relationship, a serious illness, etc. Do you cave-in to these experiences and rapidly lose yourself? Or do you find a way to bounce back? The ability to not lose hold over yourself and to bounce back each time life delivers a blow – That is resilience.  Like compassion, resilience too is an inner quality. It is a lens that allows us to make choices in times of adversity. And it requires practice.

The most interesting part about Resilience is that it requires ‘Human Connection’ in order to grow. 

For example : When the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened or the Tsunami hit many countries in South-East Asia, the people immediately got together and spontaneously showed tremendous resilience. In a matter of time, all of these people bounced back, took life forward and remembered the lost ones with prayers and love. And resilience was possible because very unconsciously, the people connected with each other and became one in the face of trauma.

The Human System has resilience programmed in each of us already. It only needs human connection to get activated. When we can consciously work towards creating deep connections in life, it creates resilience within us. In times of trauma, we all deeply long for human connection so that we feel resilience. 

Resilience does not mean that you do not feel sad or low. Resilience does not mean you have to be fearless and mighty. Resilience is just that quality within that tells you that you can bounce back even though life has just become hell!

If Resilience is like the ‘Thick Skin’ we grow around us in order to deal with challenges and stressful situations, Compassion is like an ‘Elastic Heart’ deep inside us that allows us to be more present and more alive. Together, these two are vital for a happy and peaceful person.

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