I wanted to share a little thing I have been playing with that helps to reduce my tendency to be judgmental and increase my ability to be compassionate toward both myself and others.
It involves firstly becoming aware when a particular feeling has been triggered. Maybe you have been triggered by something someone has said or done and have had anger, irritation, jealously, hurt, or sadness come up.
As we know the first step is to recognise the emotion that has been triggered and to accept and hold it lightly, resisting the urge to suppress it or to feed it with justification, blame or criticism. The emotion will naturally subside when not suppressed, fed or inappropriately expressed.
Then we are free to check in with our wise selves for what we need to remember to do, think or let go of. This may include doing nothing at all .
Something I have been reminded of when my negative emotions are triggered is to ask myself a simple question. I ask myself 'what is this person or event reminding me? Then I say to myself 'thank you for reminding me to be kind if I am perceiving unkindness, connected if I am perceiving distraction or patient if I am perceiving impatience.I have been finding this simple question very useful to reduce judgment and foster compassion.
For example if I am perceiving someone's behaviour as impatient or rude ( I try to remember to seperate the behaviour from the person. So rather than think or say X is a rude person, I try to remember to think X is behaving rudely) It is a subtle but important distinction, that I often need reminding of.
When I ask myself this simple question: What is this person who is behaving rudely remind me? My wise self tells me it is not nice for others or themselves when they behave this way, so patience and kindness is the way to go. I am then able to have compassion for them and for me and to genuinely thank them for reminding me to be kind and patient.
Now I know this has the potential to be self righteous and judgmental and lacking in sincerity and compassion, like when we feel superior. However if we are able to be sincere in our response and to take responsibility for our part in the experience, like acknowledging that we may have behaved like this too, we are then able to feel compassion for the other person and ourselves too.
Taking responsibility for past similar behaviour does not involve giving ourselves a hard time for creating this particular experience. It is no one's fault just a reminder to be thankful for.
This can be really tricky to do with those strong negative emotions like anger, as I was reminded a couple of weeks ago when I really lost it in an angry outburst. Next blog I will talk more about this and some of the useful things to remember including to have compassion and forgiveness for others and ourselves, to remember we are human, to do our 4 forces conscious clearing exercise (I will outline these steps in the next blog) and explore more helpful ways to deal with strong emotions like anger.
We can also do this "Thank you for reminding me' when we have positive emotions triggered too. Like when someone gives us a smile and it feels good. "Thank you for reminding me to smile'! It's great to remember to thank the person for their kind reminder out loud or in thought, whatever is appropriate. Again sincerity is needed. It is so easy for our funny minds to be sarcastic and judging with insincere thanks. It's great to be reminded to be kind, joyful, grateful or generous so lets give thanks to whoever and whatever reminds us!
With love, appreciation and very best well wishes to us all