To be honest, I don’t think I’ve been very good at the whole “compassion” thing for much of my life. I’m a really nice person, don’t get me wrong! But until recently, I didn’t truly understand compassion the way I now do. Prompted by an experience where I really "screwed up," I got to explore compassion in a whole new way.
I was on vacation in Mexico, lounging on a beach chair, relaxing into the warm sunny day. I decided to work on promoting my upcoming online course. I was excited to get started, and class was just a few weeks away. I posted on FB and tagged a few folks I thought might be interested. Instantly, one person I tagged sent me a message explaining that she did not appreciate the tag and asked that I not do that again. She was extremely gracious and kind, but made it clear that this did not please her.
I got it right away. It made perfect sense to me! Of course she didn't like that! What was I thinking?
I could immediately sense the heat rise up in my chest and my belly start to churn. I upset her and I felt terrible. Fear quickly crept in and my mind was off to the races.
I was mortified. Not only was I sad that I offended someone, but I was scared that I was alienating potential clients and friends.
My mind began its journey.
What the hell were you thinking??!!!
That was so unprofessional!
You have no idea what you are doing!
STUPID STUPID STUPID!!!
You should not be on this vacation!!! You should be focused on work at home!
What a careless mistake!
I could go on, but you get the drift…...
After a few minutes of self abuse, I paused.
I took a breath.
I checked in.
I let go of the thoughts and looked inward.
Then, I began to hear another voice, the voice of a friend.
That voice was gentler, kinder, more forgiving and much less harsh.
It was the voice of compassion.
That voice reminded me of my deepest intention.
That voice reminded me that I am human and that I sometimes make mistakes.
That voice reminded me that I can forgive myself and make amends with others.
I promptly removed the post and then replied to her, thanking her for her honesty. I expressed my gratitude for her willingness to be honest with me and for the opportunity to grow and learn from this experience.
I took another slow long, deep breath and closed my computer. I noticed the ocean, sand, the sun- the beauty of the day before me. I sat and reflected with gratitude for my mistake, her courage to be honest and the endless opportunities before me to expand, grown and learn.
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