The one answer to any doubt or question: Compassion
Let me explain what I mean when I say that whether you are dealing with others, or trying to deal with your inner self, compassion will always be the right answer to any question or doubt:
Compassion is a feeling of kindness, a reaching out, an understanding.
It’s as close to unconditional love as we can get without pronouncing the word “love”.
Why do I think that it is the answer? Surely there must be people who don’t “deserve” compassion?
Well, this is where the beauty of compassion comes in – it doesn’t judge. On the contrary, it is about not judging the other. If anything, those who we may be tempted to judge are probably those who need our compassion the most.
Compassion is not accepting someone’s terrible acts, but seeing the human being, his suffering, and not judging that person – by separating their actions from who they are.
Where this comes up in my work is often the severity with which my clients initially judge themselves. It’s their difficulty in looking at themselves with loving, kind, understanding eyes.
A question I ask to help them shift their perspective is “if your best friend were in your situation, what would you tell them?” – and so rarely would they condemn them, but rather be supportive and compassionate.
It is easy to feel compassionate about others who seem to deserve it – the kind, the clean, the nice, the people we see as our people. True generosity is to feel compassion – and express it – to those who are different, who bother us, who are not “our kind”, who are not grateful, who may be “smelly”, literally or figuratively. Those who, like us, are all too human, all too imperfect.
It doesn’t matter where you start, but any time you feel compassion instead of judging, whether for yourself or someone else, you add a little bit of kindness to this world.
And it seems to me the world right now needs any kindness it can get…