There is a beautiful saying by the Dalai lama that I recently found online. It says
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
If you are anything like I can be, I find it easy to show compassion towards others. If they make a silly mistake, I laugh it off. If they say something stupid, I assume they were just distracted or having an off day. When they make a poor decision, I easily find where their thinking must have been to think that way would be best. Even rudeness can be sloughed off as a bad day. I am fully capable and willing to accept that they are human and humans make mistakes. It’s really no big deal at all.
Until I make a mistake, say something stupid, make a poor decision, have an off day, react poorly to a situation, and so forth.
Rather than just brushing it off and giving myself the same compassion that I would give to others? I lament about it. I lay in bed thinking about that stupid thing i said. What an idiot I am! My bad mood obviously means I am a nasty person. My poor decisions are proof of my inability to make good ones.
So why are the rules so different for everyone else? Why can I show them compassion yet show it to myself far less often.
Believe it or not, I am actually better about this than I used to be. I still need to practice a lot more compassion to myself but I was VERY harsh to myself in the past. I would call myself names and think horribly of myself for the smallest of imperfections. I never let myself off the hook for anything at all. I still know many people who are far meaner to themselves than anyone (normal) would ever think to be towards them.
So what do we do to help get away from this nasty habit?
For me it is often asking myself the question “If one of my friends did this, how would I react?” or “If one of my children did this, what would I tell them?”. It isn’t always easy but when I see how I would treat others in the same situation or the advice I would give to my children? I try to offer myself the same.
Everyone makes mistakes. It is what makes us human. And as a side note here? Perfect people are REALLY freaking annoying!
We all make decisions that prove to be the opposite of what we should have chosen.For the most part? Very few decisions must remain permanently. When you know differently? Make the change and do differently. It is a lesson learned and that is it. No one would ever want you to drag that heavy rock around with you.
What about those bad moods? That time you snapped at someone? The days where you really do not put your best foot forward? We all have those. How about we all try to cut ourselves a break? I really do not know many people who will not accept a simple apology if you snapped at them. “I’m really sorry for snapping at you. I am having a really hard day.” Then drop it and let it go. They will. Why shouldn’t you?
A lot of our negative reactions to ourselves are habitual. If there is one habit that I think we should all try to break in 2015? It is the one that allows us to be nasty to ourselves. Show yourself some more compassion.
There is that well-known saying “Do unto others as you wish done unto you.”
How about flipping that around a bit?
Do unto yourself and you would do unto others.