Compassion is beautiful thing. Compassion allows others to consider how we are feeling. Compassion allows us to consider how other people are feeling. Compassion is what allows us all to hold space for each other so we can authentically be who we authentically are without resistance, guilt, shame, or conflict. It is also what allows us to lift each other up rather than cut each other down.
Living life with compassion is a high priority for me. I strive to always be mindful of the experiences of others … to remember that my experience is mine alone. I try to keep myself from making assumptions about the motivations, opinions, beliefs, and intentions of others. Mind you, it’s not always easy. It’s a practice. But one that is noble and necessary for me.
I find that cultivating compassion in my life allows a richer experience of the world, offers new and interesting perspectives, and keeps me consciously focusing on my actions, thoughts, and words, which means I am more present in any given moment. Cultivating this level of compassion allows me to form deeper connections with people, places, and experiences, because I am more open to things outside of my field of expectations.
For me, compassion is a key component to living a truly blissful and magical life.
So, how does one go about cultivating more compassion in life? I’m so glad you asked! Here are five powerful tools you can use to do just that …
5 Tools For Cultivating More Compassion In Your Life:
Active Listening - We are taught about listening from a wee, early age. We know that hearing is one of the primary human senses. And that we listen by employing our hearing apparatus. Active listening takes this a step further. In Active Listening, one makes a concerted effort to not just hear, but to fully digest and process the information being received. It involves reflecting back what has been heard to make sure it’s being heard correctly, and not losing something in the translation. Misinterpretation is one of the most common snags to effective communication and connection. When we only half listen, we often make assumptions about the information we’re taking in, and, even more dangerously, we make assumptions about the intentions behind the information. When we practice Active Listening we remain open and poised for receiving information free of assumptions. And if assumptions start creeping into the exchange, just ask for clarification.
Release Expectation - Releasing expectation is such a simple, yet powerful way to cultivate compassion for self, for others, and for all life experiences. It’s not always easy, though. Each experience we have creates an expectation of what we assume similar experiences will be in the future. We have to consistently and diligently remind ourselves that we are all constantly changing, growing, and evolving. No two experiences will ever be exactly the same, because we will never be exactly the same when we experience them. If we can manage to keep this thought at the fore of our conscious minds, we should be able to surrender any expectations, keeping an open mind for every person, animal, place, and experience we encounter.
Temporarily Disconnect From Your Perspective - We are designed to see the world from our own personal perspective. And there’s nothing wrong with honoring our own unique perspective, so long as we recognize and honor that everyone we meet also has a unique personal perspective that may be very different from our own. When interacting with others, it can be hugely beneficial to temporarily disconnect from our own perspective, trading it in for a few moments of seeing through someone else’s eyes. It’s the whole “walk a mile in the other kid’s shoes” thing. We don’t have to agree with another’s viewpoint, but being open to experiencing it cultivates compassion by giving us insight into how those around us work. We get to learn about new ways of being and seeing, doing and speaking that can broaden our own perspectives, and help us to further hone our own desires, preferences, values, and opinions.
Desire More Compassion - In order to cultivate more compassion in life, there must first be a desire to do so. Desiring compassion in life, desiring a more positive experience with others, is what creates the drive to put any or all of these tools into practice.
Get Curious - To cultivate compassion, it is helpful to invite curiosity. Follow the threads of curiosity of what others are experiencing by asking questions. Take a real interest in why other people do what they do. This cultivates compassion and paves the way for more meaningful relationships with the people in your life. You get to know people better, learn more about their hopes, dreams, desires, and what makes them tick. Then, should a challenge arise, you’ll be less likely to assume the worst. Knowing the people in our lives more intimately allows us to move past those snap judgments, reactions, and assumptions and start giving people the benefit of the doubt.
If you work with these tools on a consistent basis, you will cultivate more compassion in your life. You will also cultivate stronger relationships and connections with yourself and others in your life. You will experience less stress and resistance, and will start noticing more ease. In short, life will become more blissful.
Enjoy the process, blissmakers. Have fun with it. It’s just life, after all. It’s all about making it the best it can be.