Compassion towards us and towards others is a powerful tool to overcome low self-esteem. And beyond that, compassion has many more benefits, which I have shown in my last post.
Usually, compassion is a regular practice to be done every day for a considerable period of time. But it is also a tool you can apply as a short exercise in-between times. Let’s have a look at both implementations.
Compassion as a one-minute-exercise
Compassion can be applied everywhere you go and everywhere you are. Look out for resistance, guilt, or anger, and be compassionate about it. That’s all. You don’t have to change anything. If it is a cloudy day and you feel a little bit gloomy, embrace that mood with compassion. If you miss your train and you are angry about it, be compassionate towards your anger and the whole situation. Just having the clear intention to be compassionate can be enough to get you going. But if it is still difficult, you may want to familiarize yourself with compassion by applying the instruction for the long-term practice.
Compassion as a long-term practice
- Pay attention to your breath to collect yourself. Then picture a person who is dear to you, someone towards whom you have warm, compassionate feelings. It might be your child, your parents, a good friend, or even your pet.
- Continue breathing consciously. While inhaling, imagine you can inhale the love and kindness from the person you have chosen; as you exhale, send the other one love and kindness in exchange.
- Go on as long as you wish. Feel the love and kindness that is coming to you and the love and kindness you are sending out. The longer you practice, the more you are able to immerse in compassion. You will experience for yourself that you do not just apply a tool, but that compassion is a part of your personality. It can be evoked again any time you want and especially any time you need it.
- When you decide to end the exercise, make a mental note that you have experienced compassion. In this way, you will link the experience of compassion with the concept of it.
- Finally, affirm that you have the intention to be compassionate today. Decide to apply more compassion all day long. Thus you draw on compassion as a short-term tool. Compassion will become your new habit.
There are and will be topics that you won’t be able to embrace with compassion. This always indicates that the subject is still “open”, that you need some kind of closure. Forcing yourself to be compassionate in such a case is of no use (and almost a contradiction in terms). Return to compassion after the issue is solved and try to be compassionate about it once more.