Compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. It’s always effective to practice compassion when we encounter someone who is suffering. It heals wounds and spreads love. In the space of all that, humanity thrives.

When You Judge Yourself, Practice Compassion

Pema Chodron said, “Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves.” It’s easy to beat yourself up for failing, not being perfect, or doing things that others laugh at or scorn you for. Don’t. Accept your flaws, your humanity, and practice loving kindness for yourself. Without mistakes and pain, we would not grow. Sometimes the biggest failures are blessings in disguise. If you hide from them, you can’t learn from them. When you let everything be a teaching moment, everything is purposeful and you can live without regret.

When Others Ridicule You, Practice Compassion

It’s so easy to gossip, isn’t it? It’s easy to judge, point fingers, laugh, and make jokes about others. When you’re on the receiving end, why would you turn the other cheek and refrain from blasting them with the same ugliness that they are hurling at you? Compassion. Healthy, balanced people don’t treat other people with contempt. So see past their hurtful behavior and look deeper at the insecurity that must spawn it. Return compassion and you can help to diffuse the negativity so healing can begin.

When Others Exploit You, Practice Compassion

The weapon of destruction isn’t restricted to words. It can be actions too. Maybe someone swindled you out of money. Perhaps you were lied to or betrayed. Remember that what we send out comes back to us. There is no free lunch. You don’t have to be the one who gets justice for what was done to you. You can offer forgiveness and just keep going. Your self worth is never diminished by someone else’s exploitation. Their actions are a reflection of them. When you practice compassion, your heart remains clean and clear. This may seem like weakness to those who don’t understand. It’s strength in the highest order.

When Someone is Hurting, Practice Compassion

Sometimes hurt is falling off a bike. Sometimes it is going on a drinking binge to escape overwhelming feelings or situations. Maybe the hurt comes from being ill used. What can you do to help? Does the person need first aid, to talk, to have some one sit with them, or to get legal advice? When we’re broken, we may not be as resourceful or resilient as we normally are. This can make us vulnerable. Some will walk on by. Some will take advantage of this. Why not be someone who practices compassion?

When you practice compassion, it’s like saying, “I know what it’s like to hurt, so let my words and deeds heal.” This doesn’t mean that you condone  negative things nor does it mean you have to accept them. Healthy boundaries are still a great idea. It just means that you approach the situation with an open, nonjudgmental heart and see the situation through with love.