In a perfect world, and if I was a perfect person, this article would be titled Forgiveness, A Life Skill. However, as a soul having a human experience, forgiveness is difficult for me. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth working towards, I’m just acknowledging a place where I have room for growth. The point I want to make is that like academic strengths and weaknesses, we have emotional strengths and weaknesses. So to be as high functioning as possible, we may need to adapt. Since forgiveness is difficult for me, I focus on one of my strengths instead, compassion. There are many paths to peace, consider if you have an emotional weakness how you may swap it out for an emotional strength.
I’ve mentioned having compassion for the human experience in Commit to Integrity. One way to apply this idea is having compassion for your emotions and other people’s emotions. Emotions are natural. It is unhealthy to try to avoid them. Feel emotion, express emotion, but don’t define yourself or others by emotion. Your emotional health is not that you are devoid of emotion but rather that you navigate your emotions. You recognize your triggers. You know that emotions are temporary and dynamic. You learn from your experiences so you can be more nimble the next time.
Negative thoughts are also part of the human experience. Demonstrate compassion to yourself by observing these thoughts and responding positively to them. When you have a negative thought, commit to stopping and transforming your thinking to positive. For example, if you catch yourself thinking negatively about your neighbor (so guilty…). Stop and redirect your thoughts to all the good attributes of that person or simply send them good vibes as a fellow human being. Spend at least 30 seconds on this. You may feel a softness towards the person when the exercise is complete. If you dedicate yourself to this exercise, you will have more positive thoughts, and you may quickly find that having negative thoughts is not worth your time. You brain may literally think having this negative thought is not worth the 30 seconds it is going to take to undo it.
Have compassion for yourself that you are not going to like everybody, and everybody is not going to like you. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to have a relationship with someone you don’t like, don’t waste your energy trying to like them. Please, for the love of chocolate, don’t waste your energy trying to get them to like you. Instead, focus your energy on the good that comes from the relationship. The only good may be how valuable of a teacher they are for you to practice compassion, fine.
Compassion is also a way out of anger. When we are angry, we often fall into the ‘what about’ syndrome. What about when you did this, what about when you did that? What about it? You are responsible for your part and your transgressions. They are responsible for their part and their transgressions. Have compassion to ask yourself what your role is in the situation. Are you an antagonist, an enabler, or playing victim? Have compassion to ask what their role is in the situation. Just by making the space for compassion, you may learn a lot about what the issue really is.
Another way to have compassion for yourselves and others is to not obsess about ‘what ifs’ and ‘should haves’. We all make mistakes. We all wish we had made different choices. Admit your wrongs, and move forward with actions that speak for themselves. Ultimately, it isn’t what you say or do, but how you make people feel. People mostly remember how you made them feel. The people you love should feel good about themselves when they are around you.
Since you are reading this article, you are probably attracted to meditation and mindfulness. With life’s ups and downs, it is easy to abandon your meditation and mindfulness practices from time to time. We all have periods where we get blown off course or have to shift our focus out of necessity. Have compassion for yourself. Your practice will be there for you when you return, and you will most likely return with a greater depth of appreciation for it.
Compassion is the ultimate expression of your highest self.
Thanks for reading. Let me know if you swap emotional weaknesses for strengths. Let me know too your thoughts about compassion. Thanks for liking the article and leaving a comment!