Key Point: We know having a lack of compassion and prejudging others can be very harmful, mostly to ourselves. If we think like this, it diminishes us. It makes us smaller. Why do we do it? How do we minimize behaving that way?
I was boarding a plane the other day and across from me I heard a sweet voice meekly ask the flight attendant for a seat belt extension. The young woman was obese and required more length so she could get the seatbelt around her. She sounded humiliated and immediately you could feel the “tsk-tsk” from other passengers float through the air. “How could she allow herself to get like that?” Etc. But imagine if we were on that same plane, each of us TOTALLY exposed? What if all our personal shortcomings, mistakes, and total humanity was as visible as our weight? The flight attendant would come by and we would ask, “could I have an extension for my hubris behavior? I just can’t tighten my seat belt being this narcissistic. With all the jealously driven, mean spirited behavior I’ve demonstrated over the past week, it just makes the seat belt too short. Could I have a belt extension please?” And so on. Somehow I think the rest of us would need “extensions” too.
- Remember to fix yourself first. When you get that perfect, please make yourself available to fix everyone else. Also, let me know when you achieve perfection because you will have developed a very marketable product.
- Reinforce the principle of being compassionate as a strength versus a weakness. We often have little or no idea of the complexity that causes people to act or not act in certain ways. Seeking to understand and support is important to each of us because it is a reflection of how we treat ourselves first.
- When we are prone to discriminate or prejudge, ask for a mind extension to expand your thinking. Ask what it would be like to be in the other person’s shoes. What would it feel like? How would we want to be treated if we were in that seat? Could it be possible that it under certain circumstances it could be us one day? The wise saying, “But for the grace of God,” has a powerful reason to it.
- Sharpen your observation and understanding to learn about the entire person. Of course it includes the way they look, but more importantly, how they think, what they believe in, how they treat themselves and others. Get a complete picture and then ask for that mind extension to understand with even more compassion. (This also means being able to set healthy boundaries between others who could cause us personal harm).
- One of the great skills in developing a higher order of compassion is learning how to reframe. This is the ability to put a different “perspective” around a picture. When we learn how to constructively do that, the landscape and story changes. See Cindy Wigglesworth‘s exceptional book SQ21 and learn more about the power of reframing. You likely can’t become spiritually awesome until you learn how to do it.
A mind extension in the Triangle,