April 18, 2009
I am not sure about the etymology of the word “compersion”, but I can tell you that it is a word that is meant to describe the feelings of joy that you feel at your patner’s happiness. For example, when Michael returned from dates with Becky and was smiling and happy, that often made me happy for him in turn. Compersion.
I’ve heard compersion described as meaning the opposite of jealousy, but I am not sure if it is true. Actually, I’m not sure that it CAN be true. Can you feel two opposite feelings at the same time? I have certainly felt feelings of jealousy and compersion at the same time. I have heard others claim that this is impossible. If you are really happy for a person, how can you also feel jealous of the cause of that happiness. Logically, this makes perfect sense, but emotions often run a different path than logic.
What I do know is that the longer I practice PUTTING the feelings of compersion into myself, imagining Michael with a partner and forcing myself to smile through the daydream, the more it really does make me smile when he talks about a pretty girl or a co-worker with a great laugh. In truth these little things never bothered me, but now I would be perfectly okay with encouraging him to take things to the next step. Compersion has been a learned feeling for me as much as a natural one, and it is something that is really hard to feel without the open nature of poly. I guess it is one more thing to feel thankful for.