About Compassionate Nature
Compassionate Nature is a small business run by clinical psychologist Bronwyn Gresham.
This website is a platform to share psychological resources for people who care about others and the natural world around us.
The hope is that people experience self-care as doable on a daily basis, and also something they feel genuinely enthusiastic about. To weave the essence of self-care into very fabric of one’s life. Where it’s as natural and essential as breathing.
There is certainly an art to looking after oneself. Certainly part of which is having a diverse and robust repertoire of skills, many colours, many materials to work with, a healthy imagination and sense of adventure.
Through hosting a podcast you will hear firsthand from other caregivers of others and our natural world. To hear how and why they care so much, and their own journey into reflecting back care to themselves. To learn an feel inspired by our community of caregivers, that we all struggle at times to treat ourselves with the same care and kindness we do others. That this is our common humanity. We are all in the same boat.
Why does it hurt sometimes
Having a compassionate nature, that is caring about others and societal issues (like climate change, health, animal welfare and social equity) can give both a powerful sense of purpose to life and also lead to lots of stress.
Why? Well the first part is obvious. Acting in a way that is consistent with our deepest values, like love, justice, respect, health, equality and so on, makes us feel happy because we are proactive and contributing something. We are trying to do our best as human beings living in this culture, this country, this day and age.
But the reason it can be stressful is because when you really care about someone, or something, you are also highly attuned to the pain of that person or cause. You witness their suffering. You listen to it, you hear it, you feel it. This is the magnificence of empathy. If we feel the pain, we can be motivated to something about it. This is more than empathy, its empathy plus loving action. And this is compassion. So witnessing the pain out there, in others and the world is a necessary ingredients for knowing how best to respond, to respond effectively. To do that works.
To sustain our compassionate nature our own needs also need tending to. If they are neglected or deprioritised, then the stress of witnessing pain and the demands of the situation will start to exceed our coping resources. That’s why we are so prone to going through burnout, compassion fatigue and disconnection. Basically we drop out. Psychologically and physically. And this really hurts. It’s like a a double whammy for people who typically consider themselves compassionate at heart. This is when we especially need self-compassion and care.