In our lives, we encounter many people – some we connect with and others we don’t. When we do connect with someone, we may believe that they are a good person with a caring and compassionate heart. However, as time passes, we may discover that they are self-centered and uncaring. This can be a painful experience, leaving us wondering how we could have been so wrong and what we can do differently next time.
Some people have a natural willingness to feel the feelings of others, while others do not. Some can recall caring about the feelings of others from a young age, while others were concerned only with their own feelings and needs. People who have chosen the deeper level of compassion tend to become caretakers, while those who are less compassionate become takers. Caretakers are individuals who have learned to take responsibility for the feelings and well-being of others, while takers are those who expect others to take responsibility for their own feelings and well-being and often blame others when they do not.
If you are a compassionate person who easily feels the feelings of others, you may find yourself drawn to people who are in pain. Your compassionate heart naturally wants to help those in pain, not only out of caring, but also because their pain is painful to you. The problem is that the person you are helping may not care about your feelings as much as you care about theirs.
So, how do you discern who has a loving, caring, and compassionate heart? The first step is to focus on developing as much compassion for your own feelings as you have for others. Often, very caring people leave themselves out, caring about others far more than they care about themselves. This leaves them vulnerable to becoming the caretaker for someone who just wants someone else to take care of them and then gets angry when you do not do it right. If you develop compassion for yourself, you will start to feel much more quickly when someone is not really caring about you. If you are just focused on another’s feelings, you won’t notice what you feel, and it is your own feelings that allow you to discern caring from a lack of caring.
The next step is to understand and accept that, no matter how caring you are to others, you have no control over how caring others are with you. You can’t make someone care, and the more you take care of another’s feelings and well-being while ignoring your own, the less caring the other will be. The other person becomes a mirror for your lack of caring about yourself.
The more you learn to take full, 100% responsibility for your own feelings, the more another’s lack of caring will be intolerable to you. The more you are able to stay tuned into yourself and trust your own perceptions, the quicker you will discern a lack of caring in others. The more you accept your lack of control over getting others to be caring, the quicker you will let go of people who are intent on getting caring but not much concerned with giving it.
It does not take long to discern the loving heart once you have compassion for yourself, trust your perceptions, and accept your lack of control over others. People reveal their intentions to either give love or to get it, or to give to get, with everything they say and do. With practice, you can learn to discern the loving heart very early in a relationship. If you want to stop recreating the same relationships over and over, then develop your power of discernment.