How to feel compassion when you have been ‘b*tch@d’ about!
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” —Theodore Roosevelt.
I was called materialistic by another woman this week: not to my face, to someone else.
Am I angry, upset? No, not at all. You see I had met the woman for only 10 minutes in a casual encounter with someone else.
Why am I not hurt or upset about being labelled in a negative way? The woman doesn’t know me at all. She made a judgement about me with her ‘life’ glasses on; filtered with her own life experiences. She doesn’t know my heart or soul, she just saw that I happen to live in a nice spot and have a pool.
What does it mean to be materialistic? I don’t know. Any interpretation of that word is based on our own life experiences, our own baggage and our own expectations.
If anything, I feel compassion for this woman. I don’t know her at all, but I’m guessing like all of us, she has had ups and downs in life, good times and bad times. I don’t know where she lives, her family, her financial situation, I don’t know her heart and soul.
But I know that somewhere deep inside she has a wound that cuts deeply and filters her perception of the world where she can label someone she doesn’t know based on 10-minute casual encounter.
I do know that she made that terrible, spirit-destroying mistake of comparing herself to someone else and concluded that she fell short in some way. So to make herself feel better, she judged and labelled me.
I feel compassion for her because I know what it feels like to compare yourself to others; it feels awful! I wrote about that a couple of weeks ago in my article about Marianne Williamson when I shared how I compared myself to others and I felt ‘small’ and unworthy.
Judging and comparing ourselves to others does not serve us! It only brews negative feelings of jealously and unworthiness.
Wherever we are at in our lives, we are there because of the choices and decisions we have made. To improve our lives, to bring happiness into our lives, WE need to make different decisions.
Sometimes those decisions are hard to make and there are so many reasons and roadblocks to dissuade us from making them. But having the courage and conviction to love ourselves, to be kind to ourselves and make decisions that are in our own best interests are the steps we can take to living the life WE want to live.
A few years ago I met a lady in a café one day and we got to talking about a project she was involved with, called the Compassion Project.
She gave me a card and said that whenever I start to feel angry, annoyed or frustrated with someone to sit, be still, picture that person in my mind and repeat these five mantras:
- Just like me, this person is seeking some happiness in his/her life.
- Just like me, this person is trying to avoid suffering in his/her life.
- Just like me, this person has known sadness, loneliness and despair.
- Just like me, this person is seeking to fulfil his/her needs.
- Just like me, this person is learning about life.
Try it right now and think of someone who may have annoyed you recently. Picture them in your mind and repeat these five mantras. What do you notice?
When I do this I notice that I start to feel empathy for that person. It makes me remember that we are all the same, we are all little humans doing our best to make our way through this world. It makes me feel compassion for that person.
Funnily, as soon as this lady gave me the Compassion Card, I walked outside the cafe and was fined by a Council ranger for parking in a clearway and was totally tested in trying to feel compassion for the man as he took photos of my car for ‘evidence’!
Lastly, there is a saying by Wayne Dyer that goes, ‘what other people think of me is not my business. Unfortunately, people are going to say ‘shit’ about us, but we have a choice: we can hold onto it or let it go.
I say…let it go! (cue Demi Lovato singing…)