In today’s soul food, we’re looking at compassion and why in my opinion, having compassion for everyone is one of the hardest lessons in life. I believe that when you reach a place where you can feel compassion for anyone and everyone automatically, that you are truly enlightened and have developed an untouchable inner strength.
Changing your perspective – don’t take anything personally
Wouldn’t we all like to reach that point? If you read my recent post about the book, The Four Agreements, one of the agreements is “don’t take anything personally.” Everyone is acting from their own emotional state and insecurities whether they are in a good mood or bad, so whatever they say to you is simply irrelevant because it has 100% to do with them and 0% to do with you. Once you get used to interpreting others’ behavior in this way, it becomes easier to have compassion for them and feel sorry that they are in such turmoil that they have to act that way or say those things.
My mother always explained it to me this way and I refer often to this concept: It’s easy to have compassion for someone who’s visibly down, be that a homeless person, someone suffering from an addiction, or whatever else. It’s much harder to have compassion for your neighbor/peer/colleague who pushes your buttons everyday or tries to get under your skin. But the fact of the matter is, we should have compassion for everyone because we don’t know anyone’s struggles and if someone has to be petty, unprofessional, or play games with you everyday, it’s because they are in a place in their life that causes them to feel out of balance enough to do so and I have compassion for that.
Someone content, positive, and mature would not need to project their negativity onto others. So, what I try to do is always have compassion for those people and just not take things personally — though much easier said than done sometimes. With practice, this is becoming a habit for me and hopefully some day things like this will not affect me at all.
Changing your habit – replacing negative feeling with compassion
Well, the hard part is replacing all that fear, anger, anxiety and worry toward others with compassion. This is much easier to do when you don’t take anything personally to start. As soon as you do this, you can work toward replacing any of those frustrated and negative feelings with compassion and letting it go. There’s really nothing to be or stay upset about when you view the situation from this perspective.
I find that making this replacement helps me let go of the situation faster too. And I used to be the *master* of hanging on to things that upset me, so this is a great trick for those like me.
Having compassion vs. being a friend
To clarify, having compassion does not mean you have to get along with someone or be their friend. It’s simply a feeling and energy you put out to send some love and light toward a person in need and to the situation while staying removed from it yourself. Even when I have been at my angriest, and I did not plan on ever speaking to someone again, I still sent them compassion. Some of the greatest healers in the world operated on the premise of compassion for everyone and I think it’s a very difficult place to get to, but one that can make huge shifts in our own lives and the lives of others.
What do you guys think about sending out compassion in this way? I hope what I wrote makes sense and that you can see the value for yourself and others in having a bit more compassion around. 😊
These photos were taken from my favorite spot in Chicago – 3 Arts Cafe in Restoration Hardware. Those of you that follow me on Instagram probably know how obsessed I am with this place!!