Me and You! What Do We Do?
What do we need to do to get along with our loved ones? How do we relate to our boss and co-workers in more cooperative ways? How do we build community with our neighbors? Being able to communicate is the key. Our attitude determines the way we respond to a stimulus. Do the attitudes that come from your internal dialogues reject, humiliate and condemn yourself and others? Our attitudes will spread to all our professional and personal relationships for better or worse because they affect our moods. Moods are contagious! They can spread chaos or concern for other’s wellbeing. Moods are primarily based on criticism or compassion.
The dictionary defines compassion as “a deep awareness of and sympathy for another’s suffering. It is the humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it.” We each have a responsibility to control our response to external events, actions and opinions of others to build resilience in these changing times. We are each challenged to examine our own behavior and thoughts in regard to how we affect the people in our lives. Ask yourself, “Do the thoughts that I am thinking enhance my relationships and the environment that I live in? This anonymous quote merits consideration, “No thought lives in your heart rent-free. It’s either costing you or paying you.”
To interact in productive ways our words must motivate, inspire and support ourselves and others. Being tolerant is correlated to the level of compassion a person has attained. Compassion is defined as caring about the suffering and needs of others. This must be created in our inner nature and then reflects in our actions. If we want to live in a world of kindness and compassion, we must walk the talk. If we are to live a life of tranquility and joy, we must review the things we have allowed to take place in our lives. It is critically important to have an attitude to look for the positive lessons in our daily challenges by accepting responsibility for our own choices and our behavior. Building integrity comes from being able face our behavior and to apologize if we have wronged another person. Hearing the words, I’m sorry builds bridges of integrity in relations. It opens the door for new beginnings.
Acting with compassion also builds trust. Being able to trust someone depends on feeling they care about your needs and are doing what is in your best interest. Compassion is directly related to the ability to speak in ways that can be heard. It is about motivating others to their best potential. If you stand true to your word, it is one way to live in integrity. Speaking in constructive ways that makes others want to listen to us comes from a foundation of respect. If we respect ourselves, we stop letting others mistreat us. If we truly respect the rights of others, we don’t try to push them into doing things our way.
Speak your truth with honesty and integrity by demonstrating you are as good as your word. When you only say something and don’t follow through it breaks not only peace between you and others, it breaks trust. If people can’t trust you to do what you say, they will come to feel you are not reliable. By providing a safe supportive environment full of goodwill and respect, we build character to have the courage to make changes and do what is right even in the face of personal crisis. Norman Cousins has written, “Assume responsibility for the quality of your own life.”
Establishing quality of life comes from being grateful. When we pay attention to the little things other do and say, we give those around us the gift of witnessing our gratitude for their presence in our life. One of the greatest gifts we can give others is our full attention. Listening is an effective peace building skill based on compassion. Active listening involves being totally present, open and responsive to the words and ideas of another person. This is accomplished by focusing your attention on what the other person is trying to relate.
Sometimes all a person needs to make their life turn a corner is to be heard. When someone gives you their attention, it is a compliment. We need to be respectful, listen and not try to fix them in any way or feel it is our responsibility to teach them something. This is disrespectful and condescending to think we have an answer for them when they haven’t asked for our opinion. In order to establish compassionate communication, we can make an effort to reach out and be more encouraging to those with whom we come in contact. It can affect a department or a whole organization. This can actually change the direction of a person’s life.
Compassion in the community involves service and a true concern for the welfare of others. We are each called to our responsibility to lead positive change more actively. This involves doing the right thing to bring justice, equality, tolerance and sustainability in our relations. Compassion starts with a state of mind to strengthen our families, our friendships, and our communities. We must accept one person can make a difference and ask, “Does what I am doing help me and you get along better?” As each of us is a positive force for change, we build a better world.
Rev. Patrice Joy Masterson, MA is a Healthy Living Consultant and Reiki Master Instructor. She offers personalized and group integrative programs at the Harmonizing Health Retreat in Bedford, KY. For more information: 937-631-5581 or go to www.harmonizinghealthretreat.com.