Over the past 12 years, I have developed compassion that I never thought I would have the capacity to hold. It was never modeled to me. I received not even one ounce of compassion. There was none available in my family because everyone was trying to stay alive. They were in survival mode and my pain was of no interest to them. In some ways, my pain made them feel better about their pain. But since it was never modeled to me and I have somehow developed it, I have come to understand compassion as an innately human characteristic. We are all born with it. We all have the capacity for it. And as we heal our trauma, no matter how horrific it was, that compassion rises up from the depths where we hid our true self. It is innate. And that gives me hope.
But lately, I have been struggling with how broken everything seems to be. The world is broken. The collective human psyche is broken. Our priorities are broken. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t see “broken” as a permanent state. But if we don’t want it to be a permanent state, we have to start waking up. We have to see the brainwashing we are all living under. I don’t know when it started. Maybe it was always there. But for thousands of years and so many generations, we have been perpetuating a brainwashing that is supposed to keep us alive. The by-product of that survival-mode is a mess. Survival-mode stops us from living our best life. It stops us from helping others to live their best lives. It keeps us driving toward some kind of fake power instead of developing compassion for others. And it destroys the world.
From an inner parts perspective, the collective brainwashing is something we store with our controllers and karma kids. It exists in every person on this planet no matter what their trauma story is. In fact, the people who are the most adamant that they don’t have it are likely to have more of it. So what does the collective brainwashing tell us? Here are what I have found through my own work and helping others.
The brainwashing says we aren’t innately worthy. That’s one of the biggest lies there is. We are born worthy. And we are born knowing that. We prioritize human connection and self-expression above all the worldly crap that doesn’t matter. But then the world asks us what we have done. They ask what we have achieved. They ask about milestones, intelligence, points in the game, grades in school, chair in the orchestra, extra-curricular activities. Nobody ever says, “I’m glad you are you.”
The brainwashing says we cannot trust others. We talk about trust all day long, but in the end, we don’t trust. We learned that people are imperfect and that is a reasonable truth to hold. But the more our needs aren’t met, the more others seem to prioritize their own self-interest, the more we learn to cover ourselves from the pain. We put up our walls. And a lack of trust brings a life full of untrustworthy people proving us right.
The brainwashing says we deserve the pain we feel. It is such a horrible feeling to believe we are deserving of our pain. We are taught that we deserve horrible things because if we believe that, the people doing horrible things are off the hook. So we don’t seek real ways to end our pain because we believe we must have it. We believe it is ours. We might even believe our identity is based in it, that there is no “us” without it. And we hold onto it.
The brainwashing says our humanness is the problem. This problem might come in the form of emotional expression or intuitive drive toward purpose. But it is inevitable when we are children. Our innate humanity will come forward. And the world around us says that’s a problem. Robotic conformity is considered acceptable. In fact, this is the number one problem in the world today.
The good news about compassion is it doesn’t look the way our love seekers think it does. It isn’t draining. It isn’t all-consuming. Compassion is a boundaried love for humanity. It isn’t self-sacrificial. There is no guilt that drives true compassion. In fact, compassion is sometimes about doing exactly what another person doesn’t want us to do. But there is a problem with developing compassion in a non-compassionate world. It makes the heart ache. It drives a longing for a collective pain release. It is the knowledge that things could be so much better if everyone could recognize what was driving their pain. And it is hard to hold that some days. But I know this. It is so much better to hold compassion than the pain of the brainwashing.