It has surely happened to all of us to have been mistreated – do you remember the rude person who pushed you while passing by, the cranky cashier who snarled at you while you were looking for your change or the colleague who rolled their eyes when you were telling a story. Everyone has a few (or maybe many) examples of these situations when we felt wronged and inevitably developed one or another negative emotion towards the person who did it. In those occasions we tend to label these people as “assholes”, “morons” and whatever other names come to our minds as means to separate them- “the bad ones” from us- “the good ones”.
But if we turn the mirror around and look at ourselves we`ll be able to also pinpoint the times when we were “the assholes”. The times when we judged a friend, screamed at our partner or were simply rude with a perfect stranger who pushed us by accident. Are we then “the bad ones”?
Today my during my class in Svaha Yoga the teacher shared a brilliant insight that is linked to this:
“Feel good. Be good. Do good”
A common underlying factor of all situations when we didn`t behave at our best is the that we didn`t feel good- we were often tired, overwhelmed or stressed out (or sometimes just hungry 🙂 ). Can you think of an example when you acted poorly, but were feeling great? No, right? In the same way, can we assume that others who mistreated us could also have been overtaken by negative emotions and were suffering in one way or another?
This leads us to two pieces of food for thought closely linked to compassion. The first one is to try to overcome the tendency to feel victimized when being wronged and rather than reciprocating the aggression and negativity to see the “bad ones” as the ones who are suffering. To have compassion for others.
The second one is to take care of ourselves. Give ourselves the time to rest when we need it, engage in those activities that make us feel good, work on staying positive and very importantly – have compassion towards ourselves. Some very thoughtful insights on the difficult art of self-compassion can be found in this great Brainpickings article where the author also shares a very helpful exercise of daily self-compassion by The School of Life:
How about starting this new practice next week?. And making steps towards feeling, being and doing good? Because when we want to make a positive change the best place to start is within 🙂