Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2014 Nancy Virden
We are each rather lousy at mind-reading, and heart-reading is impossible. Because of this, support that is positive, patient, and knowledgeable is difficult to come by even under the best of challenging situations.
Yet that is what we want from people who love us- smiles, greetings with gladness, acceptance, tolerance, and grace. To be understood and known are our cravings.
The founder of internationally respected Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) wrote of his experience with relapse. The first time he strived for health people rallied around him. After the first relapse few remained. His second relapse left him alone with his doctor. Perhaps those who backed out of fighting at his side gave up on him, I don’t know. Today, we see the value of this man’s experience.
Society-at-large sometimes appears to want a three strikes you’re out type of justice system. This mindset of measuring a person’s potential by how many times they struggle is flawed.
What if you and I were to be those people who exercise such healthy personal boundaries that when a hurting friend calls for the third or tenth time we are able to be supportive? We don’t have to give up on them, and still avoid enabling their self-destructive behaviors. We do not take on more than we should handle, but remain encouraging. Our doors stay open without inviting trouble to move in.
We can learn to safely give what it is we all desire. For some ideas, see my earlier “Compassionate Boundaries” series in the archives of this blog (October 20- November 20. 2013).
Compassionate Love remains in the game with a three-strike batter stepping up to the plate for another chance.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.