I've questioned why some people can't be more compassionate and tried to pinpoint it for many years but it would always escape me before I could lock down the answer. Recently, I've been able to experience and stand back in awe. "This is what I've always wanted!" Compassion for others and treating them with respect no matter the circumstance.
Where did this come from? Did it just grace me with its presence for a moment? I've found a little secret. Whispering softly, "being compassionate to yourself is the key." "Oh that is ridiculous," some might say. But it does all start with us. There are many quotes out there that talk about let it begin with me, be the change you want to see in the world, blah, blah, blah. I didn't always get it. I would just roll my eyes and say, "sure, okay." I really didn't understand the concept of let it begin with me.
Years slinked by and maybe I'd see a faint glimmer of compassion but it only showed its head when I turned compassionate towards myself. I get it. If I can't have compassion for myself when I say something mean, give into my road rage, judge someone harshly or make a mistake then I can't give it to others. When I see my mistakes or fumbles as an opportunity to move in the direction I want that is compassion.
There are so many areas to have compassion. In fact all areas of our lives could use compassion. I know for myself I create lots of rules I have to follow to be "good." What if I let those go? Punishing is the opposite of compassion. I said I wouldn't eat that piece of chocolate cake in the break room but I ate it. I am disappointed in myself. Instead, there is an opportunity to bring in that good ole' compassion. Alright I ate the cake. Next time I would like to eat a smaller piece or I think I'll eat a healthy dinner tonight to balance out my day. Then move on. We don't have to make a gigantic deal and slather ourselves with insults all day. Remember this applies to all areas judging, spewing out hurtful words, tailing the car in front of you and the many other things we do.
My biggest lesson has been with my dad. My dad is a practicing alcoholic and has been all my life. I remember making my dad a Happy Father's Day card in school and we had to write about our dads. What did I write? My dad drinks beer with a nice picture of a beer can. I knew my dad as the guy with a beer can in his hand. Along with all the drinking has been lots of hurt, pain, over responsibility on my part, and piles of resentments. It constantly felt like I was swimming in the ocean with garbage surrounding me. I couldn't take a stroke without hitting a can, a plastic bottle or something making my way murky. I really didn't see a way out. Slowly over years of working on myself a trail was forged through the garbage. Piece by piece I could throw out my resentments and reflect inward to shine compassion on myself. I was astonished when the last phone conversation my dad and I had I treated his with respect. That is a huge stride coming from thinking he is an idiot, he stole my childhood, and he owes me for eternity. It was a powerful moment when I realized it was all because I changed. The compassion I try to relinquish to myself trickled down to other people in my life.
Once you continue to practice being compassionate towards yourself you will slowly see how it is reflected outwards to the people around you. You will see their behavior as a reflection of their pain rather than a reflection of who they are. Inside they are berating themselves for all those rules they broke and even just who they are. You know because you used to do the same exact thing and sometimes fall into that trap on occasion. It will take you less time to slide through the trap the more you practice.
This is a beautiful process. It isn't always easy at first. Beating ourselves up for our wrongs is usually our first response but it can be broken. Then one day you'll be in amazement at your ability to be compassionate in regards to yourself and others.
Tangy Breakfast Bowl
1/2 cup Organic Buckwheat Cereal
1 1/2 cups of Almond Milk
2 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds
1/2 cup of Shredded Coconut
1/4 cup of Chopped Pecans
1 Grapefruit; peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup of Blackberries, mashed
1-2 Tablespoons of Honey; depending on preference
1. Combine buckwheat and almond milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 10 minutes and stir occasionally.
2. While the buckwheat is cooking cut grapefruit in half and cut away the outside peel. Once peeled cut grapefruit into chunks.
3. Take your 1/2 cup of blackberries and mash them in a bowl for about a minute, I just used a potato masher. (You can forgo this if you like large chunks, I find it easy to eat mashed). Warning this can be messy!
4. Once the buckwheat is done cooking mix in a tablespoon of honey more if you like it sweeter.
5. Equally divide the cereal into two bowls then add chia seeds, coconut, pecans, grapefruit and blackberries. Serve warm.
Great nourishing way to start your day! As you sit to enjoy this breakfast bowl take a minute to be compassionate towards yourself and hold that gift for yourself through out the day. You might be amazed!