It is awe-inspiring how many problems we have with others stem from our own self-image. It does not help that, especially in this day and age of constant information overload … even in the so-called backwaters of the world, we are bombarded with OTHER people’s expectations of how WE should be. This affects not only our image of our physical self, but how we interact with others, and even our morality. This is not ALL bad. Nothing is. For humans to get along with each other, they need to share understanding … of each other’s feelings, motivations, needs. The problems arise when that understanding is warped by the agendas of others … even if they are well-meaning agendas.
Today is #1000Speak Day, a day when a thousand plus voices will try an experiment in POSITIVE energy for a change. These voices will shout to the world the power and joy that is compassion, and with every person they touch, the world will grow slightly brighter … at least for a day. I am one of those voices, but because I have a whole collection of blogs, I am posting SEVERAL offerings … each focused on that blog’s purpose. Everyone has their own story to tell; their own ideals to share; their own hopes for a better world. All worth reading (click on the link if you are interested). I explored WHAT compassion is on another post, but here I want to explore how it is to be achieved.
The simple answer is compassion needs to start with ourselves.
Why do we exercise? Why do we try to improve ourselves in oh so many possible ways? There are many answers for these questions, and each of us have to find our own. But all too often the reason is because we thinks we are not up to some unrealistic ideal created by others. We don’t look like that photo-shopped model. We don’t act like the perfect person on that scripted television show. We don’t have the things that THAT commercial defines as making us worthy. And this is just the effects of media overload. Add to it the opinions of those closest to us … is it any wonder we don’t know who we are looking at in the mirror?
If we cannot have compassion for ourselves; for our own “weaknesses” and “failings”, how can we expect to have it for others. Even more importantly, do we feel enough compassion for ourselves to recognize that maybe they are NOT weaknesses or failings? Simple who we are? Maybe sometimes CHANGING is not the answer, but accepting instead. Then if we do choose to change, it is for the right reasons.
So how do we strengthen our own compassion for OURSELVES? Here’s a thought. A simple
exercise that too many will actually find not so simple. When you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and note what you see. What are your initial reactions? Positive? Negative? If they are positive, you are already ahead of the game. If they are negative … well that just needs to change. Note the reaction, then look yourself IN THE EYE and TELL yourself that reaction is wrong. Call yourself by name, and firmly tell yourself that you are beautiful as you are, that you love yourself. And say this at least 5 times. For some this simple trick may actually be very difficult, but if you can make yourself love YOURSELF properly, simply by CONVINCING yourself … then imagine how your perspective about others will change if you chose.
Compassion starts with ourselves. Healing the world starts with healing ourselves.