The answer is… with “compassion”.
Compassion is “understanding” and “accepting” where another person is emotionally, mentally, physically or spiritually. And, with greater understanding and acceptance comes greater tolerance. It doesn’t mean you love, approve or want to encourage their behavior.
EMPOWERING BELIEF: “People do the best they can with the resources they have.”
That belief helps me breed “compassion” with the most challenging individuals. Generally speaking, people aren’t walking around all day trying to torment you. They’re too busy focusing on their own challenges, living their lives and trying to perform at the best of their abilities. People’s fears, limiting beliefs in themselves and others, lack of skill, personal weaknesses, stress and current life circumstances all factor in to how they interact with you and the choices they make in their lives. Instead of “taking another’s actions personally”, “judging” their behavior or performance, or experiencing the emotions of frustration, hurt or irritation … try on COMPASSION.
Compassion isn’t about feeling sorry for someone, or holding them as incapable, or never able to change. It’s simply understanding and accepting where they are right now in this moment, allowing them to have “their own experience”. Compassion allows you to “be with” anything. It’s non-judgmental. It’s a cousin to the emotion of “love”, although it can be generously dished out to strangers, enemies and friends alike. When we offer COMPASSION, we create more fertile ground for those around us to grow and change. When you’re in “compassion” offering constructive input, feedback or direction is more readily received. And, it feels better than the myriad of reactive emotions such as frustration, anger, or hurt.
Textbook Definition: COMPASSION – The humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it. Granted to an individual because of an emergency or other unusual circumstances. Synonym – HUMANE – Characterized by kindness, mercy, or compassion. Marked by an emphasis on humanistic values and concerns. KIND; SYMPATHETIC; BENEVOLENT; MILD; GENTLE; TENDER; MERCIFUL.
SOULFUL CHALLENGE: For the next week, Adopt-the-Emotion of COMPASSION. Use it as often as you can. Try exercising “compassion” with a grumpy spouse, a friend running late, a difficult client or employee, a street bum, the discombobulated waitress, a screaming child, someone who makes a stupid mistake, an elderly lady moving slowly or anyone else that sparks a response of frustration, anger or hurt in you. Realize they are “just being themselves”. Notice how it feels to turn on COMPASSION.