“See the light in others, and treat them as if it is all you can see”- Dr. Wayne Dwyer
Somedays, you feel as if you’ve reached the end of your rope. You spilled coffee as you herded your children out the door, simultaneously leaving your lunch on the counter, getting cut off in traffic when you were already running late…And all these little things add up, draining you of your patience and overall goodwill. By the time you get to work, or class, or wherever it is you need to be, you have officially decided “It’s going to be a terrible day.” And, because of this decision, you may take it out on others who you encounter through the rest of the day.
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but once you have mentally taken on the attitude that it will be a terrible day, guess what? You have just vastly increased your odds of having a terrible day. But what’s a person to do when it feels as though the world is conspiring to put you in a terrible mood and derail you? Perhaps practicing compassion, as crazy as it may seem!
First and foremost, remember to be compassionate towards yourself on these days. After all, you are human and cannot be expected to have perfect days all the time! If you lost your temper or said something unkind, try not to let it be a dark cloud on the remainder of your day. Take a breath, apologize to anyone you need to, and forgive yourself. When we think of compassion, we often overlook ourselves. Some might think it is selfish, but think about it: you cannot feed others from an empty cupboard. If you don’t practice compassion towards yourself, you can’t truly give it to others.
Second, if it is another person who is testing you (perhaps the person who cut you off in traffic earlier in the morning), remember that they are humans too, and for all we know, they could be having a rough morning as well. So, before you fly off the handle at the next person who rubs you the wrong way, take another deep breath (or two or three- there’s no such thing as too many deep breaths). Remind yourself that this person has thoughts and feelings too, and is fighting a battle that you cannot see or know about. Just as the quote at the beginning of the post suggests, this person has an inner light and redeeming qualities that make them lovable. Remind yourself of this, and love them in spite of their limits. Eventually, the anger or resentment you feel towards them in that moment will leave. It may take some time, but you will feel all the better knowing that you acted from a place of compassion rather than anger.When we practice compassion in our daily lives, no matter how trying or difficult the day may seem, we become better people and the world becomes a better place for it. Some final words of wisdom to take with you today: “Let us fill our hearts with our own compassion- towards ourselves and towards all living beings” Thich Nhat Hanh