Day 82: Compassionate Kindness
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama
Compassion. We all want it. We all want to be understood and feel compassion from others when we are suffering or going through difficult transitions or challenges, but what often gets in the way is judgment. Judgment gets in the way of compassion for ourselves and for others. The ego, the judge, the critic in us creates walls where compassion and understanding don’t stand a chance. So how do we quiet that critic and judge, so that we have space for love, understanding and compassion? It starts with an awareness of where, when and how we judge ourselves and others. My experience has taught me that what we judge others for is really what we fear inside of ourselves, just cleverly disguised. We can begin by becoming aware of the inner and outer critic. Once we have awareness, we can begin to gently shift our patterns so that there is room for self compassion and compassion for others.
Kindness to Self:
I have often felt embarrassed to share my hardships with others, and if I honestly examine the reason, it is because I judge myself. I’m not willing to be vulnerable and allow my loved ones to console me. That certainly does not leave space for self compassion. Learning to be vulnerable, becoming aware of the inner critic and learning to be gentle and open will lead to compassion, understanding and ultimately kindness.
Kindness to Others:
I personally find it easier to have compassion for my loved ones and friends than I do for myself, however, I have also noticed that I get “bugged” by some of my loved ones. This tells me that there is always room for more compassion and understanding, if I’m willing to be honest and take inventory.
Kindness to Strangers:
This is where most of us struggle. Maybe we have compassion for a certain group of people or we are able to have compassion when we work within a loved charity, but what about compassion for the everyday interactions with stranger that may cause us annoyance or disturb us in some way. Can we find even more space for compassion? Compassion that includes all people and all creatures and bring harm to no one?
Kindness to Our Planet:
Modern conveniences tend to get in the way of having true compassion for our planet. There are ways to counteract and reduce our carbon footprint: alternative energy, buying local produce, and many other ways. Please check out Climate Path to calculate your personal carbon footprint as well as more information on how to reduce it.
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Mario Alberto Magallenes Trejo