Feeling Compassion

Before we can feel compassion for oth- ers, we first must feel compassion for ourselves. Self-compassion frees you of feeling guilty or unworthy. It lets you live free of judgment. You are not being self- indulgent by allowing yourself to forgive. Forgive yourself for past smoking or other unhealthy behaviors. Live today without shame.

If you are feeling less than compassionate toward someone, try to recognize what you have in common. When you are meeting someone for the first time or when you are with an old friend or family member, try and think: Just like me, this person is seeking happiness. Just like me they are trying to avoid suffering. Just like me they have known sadness, loneliness and despair. Just like me, they are seeking to fulfill their needs. And just like me, this person is learn- ing about life.

True compassion and non-judgment is hard work. You do not know what someone may be going through. The story of a father and his three children on a bus shows us this. The father was lost in his own thoughts, and the kids were loud and disruptive to the other passengers. A lady leaned over to the father and said, “You really need to parent your children better. They are so unruly.” The father, shaken from his thoughts, says, “I’m so sorry. Their mother, my wife, just died and we are returning from her funeral.   I think we are all a little overwhelmed.    I apologize.”