Mindfulness Success Factor # 3: Compassion and Sympathy
A constant factor in mindfulness is showing compassion for yourself and others. We are terribly quick to berate ourselves and others often in a reactive sense without even thinking about what we are doing.
When you berate yourself you are adding stress to a situation which lead you to berate yourself. In effect you are increasing your suffering. What you have done perhaps deserves self-criticism. Yet it is often the case you are being too hard upon yourself? Why not learn from your “mistakes” instead of inflicting mental anguish on yourself. Remember you aren’t perfect. No one is. Can you give yourself some sympathy and compassion? Sometimes it is time to heal yourself instead of attacking yourself.
Now if you have committed a hurtful act that has caused severe damage perhaps you deserve to suffer. But how often is that the case? Perhaps if you have been bad and nasty berating yourself accomplishes nothing. Isn’t it better to think about how you can change your actions so it won’t happen again. This is being creative as opposed to negative.
How much compassion can you show yourselves and others? I have argued that some actions are so horrific that compassion hits a brick wall. Can you have compassion for Hitler. His acts were so vile compassion hits a brick wall. How about that condo chair tosser in Toronto. No one was injured and it seems quite possible the young lady was suffering from a social media addiction. Perhaps some compassion as opposed to hatred might be called for.
I would say that if you show compassion for yourself and others this is necessary to be mindful. If you are eternally angry and bitter towards yourself and others where is a basic love for yourself and humanity? Compassion is elasticity of the soul.
I would note that when you have been terribly wronged you may know the act that wronged you was so terrible it simply can’t be forgiven. In that case the best advice I can give you is walk away from it and do not let it take any emotional real estate from you.