Compassionate detachment healthy love

Does the phrase “compassionate detachment” cause your brain to pause? How can compassionate detachment be a healthy form of love?

What does it mean to be compassionate? Many of us have been programmed to believe that being compassionate means you feel what another is feeling and you try to make that person feel better.

If you are highly sensitive and intuitive, not only do you feel what the other person is feeling, but you likely take on that energy; it melds into your energy field as if it were your own feelings.

You might wonder, “Isn’t that what it means to care?’  After all, aren’t we all one?”

This might seem like caring, but through working with many clients over the years, I have developed a different understanding of caring.

I find that a divine principle and a healthy way of living is to honor each person’s life journey, including your own, by non-interference. Does that sound cold and uncaring?

Consider this:

1.     When you take on another’s emotions you have invaded that person’s space without permission.

2.     When you decide what can make persons feel better, you have assumed that you know what is highest and best for them on their soul’s journey.

3.     Unconsciously, you might also want to help that person feel better so you don’t have to feel her pain.

Early in my life, I felt a deep calling to relieve emotional pain wherever I found it.  As I learned some ways to help myself, I set out on a path to “fix” others, believing that I knew something important that would help.

It wasn’t until I had a close friend who was a “fixer” that I realized how that felt. My friend didn’t take time to fully understand what I was going through; instead, she immediately jumped into suggestions of how I could feel better. I didn’t feel heard and I found myself closing down.  I stopped listening.  Instead of feeling better, I felt more isolated and discouraged. I didn’t want to be fixed; I wanted to be heard.

Isolated and discouraged

Let’s go back to the idea of “compassionate detachment.”

When I listen to another person or when someone listens closely to me, I feel compassion. I feel a genuine desire to understand and be understood. Often, an answer comes just because of being heard.

Caring doesn’t require that you take on another person’s energy.  In fact, it’s just the opposite. You care enough to honor his space and experiences as his own.

You stand with the person; but not as the person.

If you are guided by your inner knowing to make a comment, it might be something like this:

  • Wow! That must hurt!
  • It sounds like you felt alone and isolated.
  • What courage it must take to stand up to that!

compassionate detachment is caring

You are not assuming; you are wondering.

This gives the person a chance to so “yes” or “no” and then elaborate. You then understand better what that person is going through and she has a chance to understand her situation better.

That is true compassion!

It is also a form of detachment. You are not taking on that person’s emotions or pain.  Instead, you are intuiting what is going on. You stay in your own energy while sensing what is happening for the other person.

What that person is feeling may bring up a similar situation you have gone through. You will sense whether it is appropriate to share that or not. As you listen, you may find that you learn something new that will help you with your own situation.

Once the person feels heard, she may ask what you would suggest. That’s the opening to share what you know, but it’s still not about fixing the other person.  It’s about sharing without any attachment to whether the person acts on your suggestion. Healthy loving means giving her the space to feel, consider, and decide.

How would if feel if a friend offered you this kind of caring? Would you feel supported and empowered? Or are you expecting that person to “fix” you?

Our understanding of love seems to be changing. We are no longer the parent making sure the other person does what’s needed.  Nor are we the child that expects a parent to take care of them.

Each of us is responsible for our life journey. However, we don’t have to forge ahead on our own. The oneness is about sharing the journey, while still taking full responsibility for our choices, even when we are not sure what the outcome will be.

Arlene Arnold

Arlene is a certified Spiritual Guide & Healing Facilitator with 25+ years of experience facilitating courses, individual transformational sessions, and creating “tools” for life’s journey that anyone can use.
Learn more at

Images used in this post are copyright protected 
through Deposit photo.