By Michael Arndt
Compassion is a foundational and universal value and practice. Compassion allows us to connect and empathize with others. It also allows us to take things a little less personally.
For many of us, it is easy for us to find compassion for people we are close to, or with whom we relate easily. However, most of us can think of a few people we have encountered or who are part of our lives with whom we struggle to find compassion.
In the early stages of my own recovery, I often struggled with finding compassion when I felt I was being lied to or manipulated by others. We can easily justify not even attempting to find compassion for challenging individuals. We tell ourselves that they are unworthy because they are “bad” or that they are choosing to do something we do not agree with or cannot relate to. As it turns out, these people and situations hold an incredibly valuable lesson for us.
In finding compassion for more difficult individuals, we are actually challenging our hearts and minds to expand. We learn to treat every human being with a little more respect and understanding. In doing so, we deepen an even more important practice: treating OURSELVES with a little more compassion.
This helps to lessen our feelings of shame and guilt, and in doing so, we may find that having more compassion for ourselves and others makes life just a little bit easier.