Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. - Plato
My personal mantra for 2012 is: “do everything in love.” One of the practices that goes along with that statement, for me, is compassion. The root of the word compassion means to suffer together with. How this virtue plays out in my daily life now is that whenever I feel myself getting annoyed or angry or judgmental, I do my best to ground myself in empathy for the other person. In this way, I am able to bypass a lot of negative, unloving feelings. It’s been a long time, actually, since I was really and truly angry at someone.
These are some of the reminders I use for myself to be more compassionate in my daily life. Perhaps they will prove useful to you as well.
- Remember that everyone you encounter today has been through or is going through something. Treat them accordingly.
- We all have feelings and needs. We all have trouble communicating them clearly. That’s just how it is. Listen to people and try to hear what’s not being said.
- Forgiveness is the ultimate form of love. Let disagreements and grudges go as soon as possible. The longer you let them fester, the longer it takes to get back to love.
- Always smile at the cashier in a long line. Assume that she’s doing her best under the circumstances. Give her a break. Same goes for restaurant workers and all other service professionals.
- Everyone wants to love and be loved. Let people love you without questioning their motives.
- Stop making people “earn” your kindness. Be kind because you want to, not as a reward for the other person being kind to you first.
- Don’t let one negative experience (or five) with a stranger, friend or lover keep you from being the loving person you really want to be.
- Begin to see every human encounter you have as an opportunity to learn how to become a more loving person.
- Instead of asking what you can get from others, ask yourself: What is the best part of myself I can give in this moment? How can I offer to help another person today?
- Say “thank you.” Say “I love you.” Say “I’m sorry.” Repeat often.