Being compassionate towards others and yourself is important to promote emotional wellbeing. When we care for others, we are caring for ourselves in turn. That is easier said than done of course when you’ve had a stressful day in the office with unreasonably demanding bosses and all you want to do is bang your head (or theirs) against the wall in frustration!
I think to some extent we are all very good at beating ourselves up. Perhaps we feel we should have done something differently or been better at something. The truth is – none of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. What we shouldn’t do is beat ourselves up for them.
Some of us are great at that! All you perfectionists out there! Myself included. (I am a reformed perfectionist now and I can tell you with confidence…it is overrated).
Being kind to ourselves is actually an act of selflessness for the benefit of others and the world in general. By allowing ourselves to become stressed, angry and worked up, we are causing a certain amount of disharmony (not only in ourselves) but in our immediate and surrounding environment.
If we consider why abuse happens for example, it is because those who perpetrate it are actually in a lot of emotional pain. Tormented perhaps, by memories of abuse they have suffered themselves over the years. The fear an abuser feels is translated into anger and violence towards those around them. They feel as though their attack on others is a way of strengthening their own unfounded perception of weakness and inferiority.
Those who abuse others lack compassion for themselves ultimately. An abuser’s illusionary sense of power is rooted in a very deep feeling of inferiority and worthlessness. These feelings can be overwhemingly powerful and can cause a great deal of mental anguish if not dealt with early on.
Suffering then becomes a chain reaction response. A person who is abusive chooses to abuse someone else in return. That individual may then do the same to someone else and so on and so forth. The cycle gains momentum and before you know it, millions of people are suffering needlessly.
By choosing compassion, we can start a more positive chain and cycle of events. Never forget that everything we say, think and do will have a consequence of some kind. Simply be loving and kind for the sake of doing so. An abuser is not happy hurting others. By doing so, they are destroying themselves. By loving youself and others, you are doing no harm to any living thing. I know which one I would choose….
The reward of compassion is to be found within the act of doing so without expecting anything in return. You can make yourself and someone else feel good about themselves by doing something simple – a smile, giving someone your time, being there for someone when things are tough.
Small acts of kindness can actually change the world.
What we need to remember is that we actually have the freedom to choose how we live our lives. We are not simply victims of our own conditioning. If we want to break out of an old pattern of behaviour, we will find a way to do so.
So – lets change the world! (It isn’t as hard as it sounds…) Change your inner world (your negative thoughts and feelings) to change the world around you. Love yourself 🙂
© Christina McDonald 2014