Compassion: According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of compassion is a “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to help.” To be compassionate of others is to be mindful. When feeling compassion you are enveloped in the present moment and non-judgmentally “feeling” the other person’s current emotional state. You see the other person for who they are and understand that we all have a unique story that impacts how we interact with the world.
Developing this compassion and understanding for others is helpful in creating a foundation for joy and ease in your own life. There are times in my life when I take the actions or words of another person to heart, and I become defensive, irritated and hurt. This causes a lot of distress and unhappiness and ultimately stops me from feeling joy, all because of another person’s actions. When that happens, I have given up my power and I am allowing another person to control my feelings. Ahhh! So, taking a deep breath, coming into the moment and realizing what’s happening … I know that I have lost my compassion and understanding of others.
Often times when people hurt others, it’s because they themselves are actually hurting. I truly believe that everyone is doing the best they can with the skills that they currently have. If someone’s actions or words are hurtful, it may be because they do not have the needed skills to effectively communicate in a productive way. This is a compassionate mindset shift that allows me to take a step back from the situation and become objective. It helps me to see that their behaviours are usually nothing personal, but rather a result of their personal pain. With this, I take back my power and make the choice not to engage in this particular exchange because I am choosing compassion and understanding.
This sounds simple, but it’s actually one of the hardest things to do. However, if you choose to see others with compassion and understanding, it will shift how you interact with the world and allow you to have greater control over your own joy. For today, be gentle with others and develop a deep curiosity about their personal journey and recognize that we are all growing and healing through our personal experiences.