Empathy is difficult.
“If you believed what he believes, you’d probably do precisely what he’s doing”.
Think about that for a second. People act based on the way they perceive THEIR world. We react, we get angry, we cry, we are joyful, we praise, we are critical, we are judgmental, we shout, we rage, we are blessedly happy……Every single time, our reaction to anything that happens to us is manifested from our perception of what our reality is.
“Understanding someone else’s story is hard, a job that’s never complete, but it’s worth the effort.” – Seth Godin
Read this one hundred times. It’s short and you can sit quietly in it and feel your feelings about the world, yourself and the people that surround you when you re-read it. What can you do to shift the way you believe things to be? Can you simply give compassion and say, “Boy, I think I would react the same way if I believed what they believed”.
Change comes from within. We cannot change others, no matter how much convincing we try to do. It is not anyone else’s job to change for us. It is not anyone’s job to make us feel better. If we are uncomfortable or angry, or hurt or sad ‘because of someone’, it because we have told ourselves a story about what is going on. If another outside person witnessed it, they would maybe see it in a whole new light – from their eyes and their mind and hence, have a different reaction to it.
No matter how unhappy someone may seem or how unreasonable they are behaving, we cannot make them change and behave the way we want them to. We can only change ourselves. We can only change our perception, and our view and through compassion we hold space for them. We can only change our stories that we believe of the world, and of ourselves and of other people.
“She is this”; “He is that”. “He’s mean and doesn’t listen to me”. “She’s controlling and is hurting me”…etc, etc.
Once we add daily forgiveness, compassion and gratitude (for others and for ourselves) into our practice, we immediately shift into the joy and the happiness we are destined to thrive in and our stubborn barriers will melt away to let love in.
Only THEN can we experience what we are spiritually meant to experience in our precious life.