By Leo Babauta
A reader wrote to me that he is frustrated with himself — he hasn’t been as compassionate to people as he’d like recently.
Lots of us experience this: we’re judgmental, quick to snap at people, getting frustrated with how other people act, judging people who have different beliefs than us.
The reader who wrote to me is actually aware of being judgmental — most of us don’t even realize when we’re doing it. We think we’re right to judge others, to be frustrated with them, to snap in anger.
This reader, in contrast, sees the less-than-friendly actions he takes and sees that they’re not aligned with the good person he wants to be, the compassionate person he is at heart. He sees the less friendly actions and wants to change them. That is worthy of celebration.
In this primer, I’d like to talk about how to be more understanding, and then how to be mindfully compassionate on an everyday basis. Of course, I am as guilty of being judgmental and less-than-compassionate as anyone else, so I don’t want to convey the impression that I’m above anyone. I’m not!
That said, I think this is important: when we are judgmental, it hurts our relationships with others, and makes us frustrated and unhappy. We can dissolve all of that, and be happier and more loving with other people and ourselves
The Basics of Being Understanding
When we’re feeling frustrated with others, when we notice ourselves judging others … we can use this as a signpost that it’s time to try understanding them instead.
We judge people all the time:
Here’s what you can do when that mindfulness bell sounds:
A Simple Compassion Method
If you can empathize with the other person’s difficulties, then you can offer them compassion:
A good daily practice is compassion meditation. Try this for just a few minutes a day: