Holding the line – heartfully

How do we hold the line between compassion and the desire to fix others’ suffering and the discernment and ‘tough love’ needed to encourage or prompt others to help themselves?

This is a daily challenge and balancing act wherever we look…in our own lives and individual relationships and more broadly with issues like welfare in the UK, foreign aid, disaster relief, immigration and the like.

Living through the heart, expressing heart qualities can take us just to the compassionate space – to tolerance, kindness, benevolence.  And it’s easy to see heartfulness as simply a sympathetic way of being.  If not fixing someone’s problem at least acknowledging care-fully they’re having a tough time.

Yet if we elevate into true heartfulness we’re integrating the tenderness of the heart with something else…those other qualities around courage and discernment which allow us to serve a greater good – tempering a natural reaction to rush in and solve the problem for something more valuable.

Our aid can be given in many forms.  It is most valuable where it is in a form that can help another progress and take control for themselves; where it transforms a situation in a way that sustains and can be built upon.  And that can mean we have to get tough…to respond from the heart and love in a way that may feel less loving.  Here we must draw on the courage of the heart to support us in what needs to be done.

In my own experience I know that rescuing often doesn’t rescue and can make the situation more acute when a tougher response and a line more firmly held would have elevated the ‘rescuee’ to a better place through their efforts.

Perhaps the most powerful reflection for me in writing this though is the necessity of engaging my heart in reviewing my motives while holding the questions: ‘who is rescuing whom?’  And, ‘how does it serve a greater good?’  By doing so I’ll be acting heartfully for myself and those I intend to aid.

Trudy Worth