Developing Compassion after Trauma & Heartbreak
by Jessica Candelaria Lipsey
Individuals who have experienced tragic or traumatic events in their life often struggle with self-hatred or intense shame. These core feelings prevent self-love and compassion, ultimately postponing healthy, desirable relationships. Furthermore, if someone has experienced trauma and lacks healthy coping skills, they are more likely to use alcohol or other substances to self-medicate.
Over 80% of individuals with alcohol or other drug problems have experienced trauma or abuse in their past. Part of gaining long term recovery often means working through the effects of trauma or abuse. This is a process effectively mastered in the counseling setting. Bringing up any trauma or abuse can be re-traumatizing (if not done correctly); therefore, it is vital to do this with a professional. This is especially true for individuals trying to stay clean and sober, as it can be a major trigger for relapse.
One major component in healing from past trauma is learning how to develop compassion. Most importantly compassion and love for yourself. Once we learn how to love ourselves, and accept ourselves entirely, then we are capable of truly caring for others. We can’t fill anyone else’s cup if ours is empty.
Compassion is absolutely necessary in successful relationships. Let’s say our partner has said something hurtful but genuinely apologized, and we just cannot find it in ourselves to forgive this behavior. The hardest time to have compassion for another is usually when they have done something unkind. Hurt people, hurt people; but when someone has hurt us it is helpful to remember they are not […]