Compassion-"The Good, The Bad And The Ugly"

July 10, 2011

Like the Clint Eastwood movie, I have seen my share of "The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly" since adopting my two sons. I have experienced joy, anger, happiness and sadness. I have struggled with accepting what is and realizing that I can't control circumstances or be responsible for someone else's actions.

Yet, shame has entered into the equation for me, especially when I felt I had failed my family as a mother whose role according to society, is not only to guide and care for their children, but also to be seen as positively fulfilling that role when their children are perceived as successful.

However the truth, as I have come to believe, is that we can fulfill that role and still not provide our children with success - as society has defined it. Although I can nurture my children, I cannot change their genetic makeup or any of the experiences they may have had before they became a part of my family's life. That is the nature part of the equation and that is the part that I, as a mother, cannot control. And that is when I look to compassion for my answers.

If you were to break down the word "compassion", you would notice that it includes the word "encompass" and, for me, is defined as encompassing all parts of the self - the parts we like and own and the parts we don't like and tend to disown and deny within ourselves. So, when we are compassionate, we integrate every part within ourselves and do the same for others. By doing so, we accept ourselves and others for who they are at this moment in their lives. We then are able to stop expecting life to be a certain way. As long as we live within our integrity and with heart, positive energy and connection, we will be able to embrace life as it is.

As a "mother" , I will continue to be compassionate to my children as well as to myself. When struggles occur within my family, I will not allow shame to affect my actions or behavior and will continue to be the best mother I can be, continuing to support and guide when able, compassionately nurturing myself and my family, and taking responsibility for only those circumstances that are within my control.

Joann DiStefano

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