“A truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change even if they behave negatively or hurt you.” ~His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
All our relationships are energetic exchanges—opportunities to become a conduit for loving-compassion. In such turbulent times, however, it’s important that we practice compassionate detachment more than ever. For many of us who are highly sensitive, it’s not easy being so open to the multitude of needs and energies of others. Like sponges, our energy fields are porous and prone to soak up these energies. Because we take in the build-up of energies from others and the world, we often feel compassion fatigue or empathy overload.
Being compassionate, however, doesn’t mean you have to engage in the negative energy or process that someone else may be experiencing. In fact, compassionate detachment requires that you remove yourself from their process, and instead support them from a place where you feel energetically centered and empowered. You can still be loving but refuse to play a part in their drama.
For instance, when someone wants to vent about a particular issue, you can listen with an open heart, but refrain from taking on their negativity, giving unsolicited advice, or trying to fix the situation. Compassionate detachment allows you to provide loving support, yet remain calm, nonreactive, and nonjudgmental.
Whenever you encounter a particularly charged situation, it reveals something about yourself that you need to either release or transform. This is a great opportunity to step back and observe yourself to discover your own negative patterns that surfaced through the exchange. Then, you can compassionately bless the person and release the situation.
To be compassionate and detach from any negative situations, you can practice these five steps:
Retreat: If you’ve ever attended a gathering or shared an office with an energy bully, you may have felt your eyes get heavy, sleepy, or dry, noticed your mood shifting from positive to negative, or suddenly become irritated or agitated. It’s important when you feel these symptoms that you pause, check in with yourself, and give yourself permission to remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible. You can get some fresh air, tell the person you will call them back, or drift over to mingle with people who give off positive energy. You can radiate love from a distance without losing yourself. Notice how this practice beneficially affects your physical and emotional well-being.
Re-evaluate: When encountering negativity, ask yourself, “How can this interaction with this person help me spiritually grow?” or “What is this person or situation showing me about myself?” Every exchange in life―is an opportunity to become free of your fear-based patterns and self-sabotaging behaviors, and open your heart in love.
Restore: After any negative encounter or situation, it’s crucial that you detox the lower vibrational energies you have absorbed. Taking deep cleansing breaths, showering, and spending time in nature are simple ways to clear your energy system. All of these will ground you and bring you back into energetic balance and resonance.
Raise: Raise your energy vibration by opening your heart and surrounding the person or situation in love. Love brings you into non-resonance with lower vibrations, and you can radiate love from a distance without compromising your own energies. As a conduit of love, you can strive to see “negative nellies” as catalysts to elevate your energy and engage your highest self.
Re-enter: When you re-enter the negative environment, do so slowly, with loving intent, and heightened awareness as to which of your buttons are likely to be pushed again. Make sure you are fully centered. Use the “broken record technique,” which is repeating a neutral statement to reduce any emotional volatility. Keep your interactions short and sweet, end conversations swiftly and with compassion, and lessen the time and duration you spend in toxic situations.
Practicing compassionate detachment gives us the power to transcend anyone or anything that takes us away from our center as love.