Last week, Ashley wrote a post about judgements. And, we've talked extensively about the importance of avoiding judgement and accepting (not necessarily approving of) other people's behavior.
We simply can't force others to do something, think something, or be a certain way. Even when, if we're being absolutely honest, we believe they're WRONG.
This can be incredibly hard, which is why I want to introduce a technique that can help you build compassion for nearly anyone, even if they're the person you disagree with most in the world.
Let's begin on solid footing. You've heard us say the phrase, "You are not your thoughts" many times.
What we mean by this is:
Your mind is a thought-generating machine.
It subconsciously learned a number of automatic, involuntary, and habitual thought patterns over the years.
It constantly spews these thoughts, resulting emotions, urges, beliefs at us, every waking moment of the day.
Most of these thoughts aren't useful, helpful, or even accurate.
YOU are not generating them. It's the involuntary part of your mind.
They are not you.
Breaking that down even further, it means that, through the process of neuroplasticity, your mind has taken in subtle and overt information from people, the environment, the media, and other places over the years, and it has 'learned' to react in a certain way.
Through no intention of your own.
Your mind is like your blabber-mouth roommate who talks constantly and has an opinion about everything.
It feeds you the self-criticism it has learned. The self-limiting beliefs it has learned. The knee-jerk reactions about the world and other people that it has learned.
And, although it feels "authentic" and as if it is our "own voice" in there. It's not. You are separate from that involuntary voice.
You are the person who is observing that voice, but man can that voice have a powerful influence over each and every one of us!
This knowledge, if applied to other people, can be used to help you develop compassion for nearly anyone else in the world.
Stay with me.
Imagine someone you really disagree with. Someone, dare I say it, who you really dislike. Someone whose beliefs and repeated behaviors make it very difficult to have compassion for them.
Now...imagine what that person must have involuntarily and unfortunately learned throughout their life to get them to believe those things and behave that way.
You see, no one is immune from neuroplasticity. And thankfully so! It is the reason why we can reinvent our sense of self, learn new things, build psychological strength!
But, it's also the reason why we....all of us....learn unhelpful and sabotaging beliefs, behaviors, thoughts, and habits.
What must that other person have learned about themselves, their limitations, the world, what to fear, who not to trust, what they can and can't count on, and so much more?
Now, think about that person as a newborn baby. A baby who has their whole life ahead of them. A baby who has not yet learned these things.
Think about directly telling that baby the things that person must have learned in order to be that way.
Then, sink into the compassion you feel for that innocent version of that person. That innocent baby is still in there. It's still inside all of us. But, it can be covered and silenced by decades of unhelpful "lessons" we've learned.
Compassion is one of the easiest ways to avoid making a judgement about yourself and about another person.
It's a quick way to soften the edges and begin to repair a connection, have a more effective conversation, find common ground.
I hope this exercise gave you one more way to do that.
Ashley and I are beginning to focus on putting together the single, most comprehensive, life-changing program we possibly can. Truly, it brings tears to my eyes when I think about the impact this program could have.
It relies on many of the concepts you've been learning about, but we'll have time to go much deeper. To do a thorough exploration. And, to create real, lasting change. Learn more here.
"You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of."
- Jim Rohn