When I try to bear the pain of what happened to me, so that I do not pass that pain to others, I notice that you also suggest feeling compassion toward the other. When I try this (bearing the pain and having compassion), it seems that I am adding even more pain to myself. I have a lot of pain and it is not going away any time soon from what I can tell. How can I endure this added pain when I try to be compassionate?

You are aware that you already have pain and that it is enduring, not easily ended.  I admire you for your courage to try to be compassionate under this circumstance.  If you find that the pain increases as you try to be compassionate, I recommend that you take a step backwards and do more cognitive work.  By this I mean the following:  Try once again to think about who this person is who hurt you.  Try to see his or her struggles, his or her wounds, not to excuse what happened, but instead to see a human being, a person who has worth, not because of what was done, but in spite of that.  As you begin to see his or her woundedness, then the compassion may emerge more gently, more slowly and be endured more easily.  Please keep in mind that this is not easy, just as doing rehabilitation work on an injured knee is not easy.  There will be pain, but the rehab of the heart will diminish the pain.

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Categories: Ask Dr. Forgiveness


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