8 STAND WITH COMPASSION

Sometimes we guard our impartiality and professional distance at the expense of allowing compassion into our work.

—Sidney WassermanProfessor of Social Work

BY THE END OF THIS CHAPTER I want you to be familiar with a way of standing with your heart wide open to yourself and to others. As change agents working in emotionally volatile situations, our goal is not to extinguish or become impervious to unpleasant feelings. Our goal is to learn to feel human fear and heartbreak without defaulting into a fight-or-flight mode. In this chapter we will explore how the capacities of emotional openness, self-acceptance, awareness of the whole person, and unconditional positive regard enable us to tend the fire in ways that invite ...

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