True compassion isn’t based upon attachments or desires. To show compassion is to understand and recognise that you have your own limitations and flaws as does everyone else and to forgive yourself and others for their mistakes, negative thoughts and fears.
We are all generally the same underneath with the same hopes and desires of being happy without any suffering. Understanding that if you peel away our exteriors we are all essentially the same with the same desires and needs will help you to be more compassionate to others.
Be more compassionate to yourself, are feelings of anger, resentment and hatred making you feel any happier? Even if you believe you are in the right does getting angry or upset to act on an injustice serve your aim to be happier further? In fact getting angry or upset will likely cause more upset in others which could lead to more unhappy feelings for yourself later like guilt, shame, regret, etc. pushing you further away from your aim and desire to be happier.
THE WAY YOU SPEAK TO
OTHERS CAN OFFER THEM
JOY, HAPPINESS, SELF-
CONFIDENCE, HOPE, TRUST
THICH NHAT HANH
Pay attention to yourself and your thoughts and take some time to understand what is driving the feelings of anger. They may not be based in truth or what you are actually experiencing now, you may not have all the information and are leaping to judge. No response may be needed at all, instead more observation or information may be required. Alternatively if you feel the feeling of anger is justified wait for the initial emotional reaction to pass or check it as soon as you realise that you are reacting. You can act as if you are angry later once the anger has subsided, this will be less destructive to your aims of more happiness and more compassionate to yourself and others.
Example: Stop reading for a couple of minutes. Think about the last time you felt angry and reacted towards somebody else. Do you honestly believe that they set out to make you feel angry and to be on the receiving end of your emotional reactions? Did being angry make you feel any happier in that moment? Did they feel happier at that moment? Did you have to apologise afterwards for your reaction? If you did apologise did doing that make you feel happier? Did you feel guilt, regret and/or sadness? You can see where this is leading with all these unhappy feelings. Be happier… think before you react.
We are often more critical of ourselves than we are of our enemies. A good rule of thumb when it comes to our own internal self critique is to be no more critical of ourselves than we would be of a stranger or friend.
It is not uncommon for compassion to be viewed as weak, however practicing compassion can be a lot tougher than just reacting to a situation. It takes more self control and strength to be patient, listen and respond from a place of self awareness with compassion and understanding.
Enemies and annoying people are a great opportunity to practice and improve your compassionate side. Remember and understand just as you, that they too have the same desires and hopes for being happier but may not be going about finding it in the right way. They may be upsetting many other people while they try to find the right path to happiness. So wish them well on finding their correct path because people can change exactly as you are trying to do now with mindfulness.
Exercising compassion can be one of the most fulfilling parts of being mindful as you are adding to more positivity in the world and making it a happier and more peaceful place for us all to live. Your relationships with others will improve and your relationship with yourself will too. That feels pretty good.