I recently took part in a wonderful training series on compassion. The training was through the Compassion Institute. The curriculum was written in collaboration with Thupten Jinpa, the principal English translator to the Dalai Lama. As amazing as the training was, perhaps one of my biggest insights was the simple message that compassion starts with us.
Though there’s much to share about the training, today, I’ll share a few of my lessons.
First, a little background. I enjoy being a part of small, intimate groups – where individuals are comfortable sharing information and supporting others in the group. I’ve formed many friendships outside of entrepreneurial groups this way, even though most of these groups are purely online.
Our training involved daily practice, readings and weekly collaborative meetings. In the meetings, we broke into small groups for face-to-face exercises. As I got to know the other participants, one point rang true. That is how much we ALL are alike.
Our Similarities Around the Globe
Participants were from all over the world. Slovenia, Amsterdam, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Czech, Lebanon, Denmark, etc. A few of us were from the states. I learned that regardless of what part of the world we live in, we are much more similar than different.
I cannot tell you how much I LOVED this opportunity to meet and get the perspectives of others from around the globe. There were many different accents and much diversity in the group, but what we held in common was much more than the sum of our differences. We all want to improve ourselves so that we can help make the world a better place… for all.
The Importance of Self-Compassion
To be able to be more compassionate towards more people and to sustain being able to be compassionate towards others, we must also practice SELF-Compassion.
By practicing self-compassion:
- We learn to nurture compassion for ourselves through our day-to-day stresses and activities.
- We learn to understand that others, like ourselves, experience and want to reduce their own suffering and pain.
- We develop more strength – more resilience, yet at the same time also learn to be more open to being compassionate to others; others in our circle, as well as others outside of our circles.
- We experience that our similarities help us make a positive difference. It gives us a starting point for conversations, where there might not otherwise be.
- We can improve relationships with those closest to us, which can result in the paying of it forward, thereby further spreading compassion well outside of our immediate circle.
- By practicing self-compassion, you increase your ability to practice compassion for others. And that can be a beautiful thing!
Self-compassion also includes paying attention to how we are doing when thinking or holding space for others. Much like making sure you take care of yourself in the event of loss of oxygen in an airplane, the same is true for compassion. If we skip practicing self-compassion and monitoring how we are doing, we will have less to offer others.
So, the next time you catch yourself saying or thinking something critical of yourself, or perhaps blaming yourself up or feeling sad about a bad autoimmune flare-up or pain day, keep in mind that you deserve the same compassion you would give to another.
Click here to subscribe to BalanceUP Community News.