Flowers, candy, back rubs are all great gifts to give to your partner, but if you don't bring the compassion into play, you're only doing half of the job!
But what does compassion really mean? Don't go running to Dictionary.com: I want you to think about what compassion means to you specifically, and where it's lacking in your life, your career, and your relationship. My guess is that you haven't considered this as much as you have considered concepts like love, understanding, and caring ... you know, the "easy" concepts we think are the ingredients for a perfect relationship!
I'm going to challenge you to think that without compassion, nothing else really matters. If this seems far-fetched, read on to discover 30 ways compassion can truly change your relationship for the better. Consider how being a little more compassionate with your partner could bring you more joy, happiness, and maybe even more mind-blowing orgasms ... just sayin'!
- Let go of expectations and compassionately accept what happens spontaneously.
- Stop asking, "What's wrong?" Compassion doesn’t mean something has to be wrong. Instead ask, "What do you need from me in this moment?"
- Crappy days happen. Accept them, embrace them, and be there for your partner when they have one. Caveat alert: Make sure they actually need your compassion in that moment, otherwise you might just end up annoying them!
- Don't get stuck in stereotypical replay. Nothing's worse than the standard, "So sorry for your loss," or "Man, that sucks." Get out of the habit of saying what you've heard a million times.
- Ask your partner what compassion means to them. Just as you communicate about sexual desires, you should communicate about compassion: "A little to the left, please!"
- Your needs versus theirs. This is the assumptive "compassion" rule. Just because your definition of compassion is "X", doesn't mean it's theirs.
- No emotion required: Some people emote compassion with emotions, but others don't ... so don't feel the need to be a sobbing mess!
- The power of touch does wonders. Touch your partner, and let him or her feel your presence without saying a word.
- And on that note: Listen up and shut up. Oh, we humans have to have our voices heard, but being compassionate is about being there for someone else.
- Admit you're wrong. This is a sticky icky, but it can be a big compassion moment in a relationship.
- Sharing your own story can bridge a gap and connect you with your partner in his time of need.
- Be truthful: Honesty equals compassion!
- Little things do matter! Simple gestures, like hand-picked flowers, say a lot.
- Never, ever, ever say "I understand." Chances are, you don't completely. Instead, say, "Tell me more about how you're feeling."
- Stop prying. If your partner doesn't want to talk, then give them space.
- Mind the gap. There may be a disparity in what you'd like to do to be compassionate and what they need.
- Examine your motives. Are you being compassionate out of expectations of return, or because you truly care?
- Golden rule time: Are doing this because of the adage "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you"?
- Take care of yourself, too. Being compassionate doesn't mean putting your needs aside.
- Draw the line. Compassion doesn't mean over giving, or co-dependency. Compassion simply allows you to care, without throwing yourself into the heart of someone else's stuff.
- Quit being afraid. Even though you may have the most loving, caring, compassionate heart, it doesn't mean because one jerk, or misguided relationship told you they don’t need your compassion, should stop you from trying it again.
- Have some fun. Compassion can be such a serious subject, a little laughter might be just what you need. Think about it: Laughter is the best medicine!
- Put yourself first, but don't be selfish enough to step aside. You already learned that being first in the compassion line helps you better help others. However, if you become bent on "Me, Me, Me," you'll lose sight of what's important.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel that your partner, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, is in need of some deeper compassion go for it. It feels good to be cared for without asking.
- Try a new position. No, not sexually, but from a different emotional angle. "How you feeling?" is about as exciting as "Tonight for dinner we're having Tuna Helper ... again."
- Do research. Find others in your circle and ask them what they're doing to up the ante on the compassion factor
- Admit you're wrong. Swallowing your pride, seeing your screw-up, and being willing to say "I'm wrong," is one of the most compassionate things you can do.
- Laughter can help your partner realize "It ain't so bad as it seems!"
- One of the most compassionate things we can do is give each other space to not be, coddled, held, and doted over. Some situations call for physical or emotional smothering. Others don't. Respect it and let the space be available.
- Never forget: compassion is ever-changing. Like anything else in relationships, it's all dependent on the moment. What you or they might need now could change a week, month, year from now, so don't be afraid to re-evaluate and adjust.
Rick Clemons is a certified Life Coach who specializes in supporting individuals in finding their sexual groove, being authentic, and no longer settling to live by others expectations. While his primary focus is working the LGBT community, he’s gained popularity in the hetero-normative environment with his straight-forward, are you serious, approach to helping individuals overcome obstacles that keep them from playing bigger in all aspects of life. You can set up a complimentary coaching session with him by clicking here.
More love advice from YourTango: