Compassion Part 3: Our Minds
In Part 2 of my mini series on compassion, I looked at loving and respecting your body as they’re smarter than we give them credit for! The next logical step is to look at our minds. I’m a huge believer that if you’re not tuned into your body and listening it to it, your mind is going to be a much noisier and confusing place to be. By showing our minds and bodies a little more compassion, life gets a lot easier.
Quick recap on what compassion means: to look upon difficulties or suffering with humanity, with warmth care and a helpful outlook. This is vital when it comes to the way you talk to yourself. And we all talk to ourselves, all the time. Granted, some of us do it out loud more than others. However, even as I write this, I’m observing and judging (interestingly I paused here as I wrote, “judging” to more deeply scrutinise my previous sentences) myself. We can’t help it.
The best friend test (in film quiz form- answers at the bottom):
What you just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. May God have mercy on your soul.1
I don’t like your jerk-off name. I don’t like your jerk-off face. I don’t like your jerk-off behavior, and I don’t like you, jerk-off. Do I make myself clear?2
You are a sad strange little man, and you have my pity.3
You’re an emotional f*cking cripple. Your soul is dogsh*t. Every single f*cking thing about you is ugly.4
I may have got carried away with the film insults but there is a point here. The point is that, unless said in jest, we would certainly never dream of saying anything like this to a best friend.
How to lose your friends in 10 minutes
What would happen if you did tell them they were pathetic, ugly, most likely to fail? Well, a) I don’t think you’d be friends anymore; b) if they’re as feisty and terrifyingly witty as my friends, you’d get shot down in a thunderstorm of flaming insults before you could even attempt to gobble the insults back up out of the air to take them back and c) they’d really be hurt.
Note to friends: You may regularly hear these sort of delightful quips in the form of “banter”. Sorryyyyy. Mainly sorry that mine are just nowhere near as creative or as deeply insulting as those handpicked above. Obviously, I’m joking (mostly) when I’m mean. Unless, you’re reading this, mum.
Just kidding. I needed to pick someone to make that work and I singled you out as I’m not sure anyone else is reading.
So why do we say it to ourselves?
The point of the best friend test is to show you that the way you speak to people is so important to how they feel. That applies to you too. Your thoughts are just conversations you have with yourself, words running through your head, stories about yourself that you create. You can’t control your thoughts but you can choose whether you listen to them or not.
The Observer vs. The Believer
Whenever you hear thoughts, you can observe them. You’re listening in to your internal dialogue. Fortunately or unfortunately, this is like a radio you can’t turn off. However, you can choose whether to ‘fuse’ with those thoughts or not. That means whether you let yourself listen to your demons or whether you just let them float by. You can get curious about them and figure out what your gut is telling you.
I recently read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. It’s amazing and I’d highly recommend it. For me, the main takeaway for me was not to try to avoid pain or negative thoughts because that’s just part of life. Instead, try to go after things that make you willing to endure a bit of suffering and alarm bells ringing in your head. Whether that be travel, embarking on a fitness journey, changing jobs, trying to find yourself a lovely lady or gentleman friend, starting your own business, learning to take your clothes off on stage (another recommendation – Burlesque is so so fun) or successfully baking a cake. Negative thoughts are inevitable but making them work for you is a choice.
For me, weirdly enough, starting this blog was one of those things as, although I’m really outgoing in person, something about the online world has always freaked me out. Who am I to start writing about things? Does anyone actually care? Well, you’ve made it to the end of my post so I hope you do otherwise I’ve just wasted your time! Therefore, I have to just get over that fear as I have things I want to connect with people on.
Don’t try to be happy
Kids don’t run around trying to be happy because they just are happy. When I was little(er), I didn’t give a flying monkeys – as indicated by exhibit A, above. Somehow, as I’ve become older and greyer, I’ve become more concerned about what I “should” be doing or thinking. Sadly, I think this happens to everyone. Kids are constantly learning, moving and growing. In my opinion, that’s all what we “should” be doing in any form we can.
Should I be happy all the time? Sometimes it feels like it. Is it possible to be happy all the time? Absolutely not. Evolution has lead us to be programmed to constantly look for threats in order to survive. Should you search for happiness then? Nope.
Instead, look for ways to be as authentic, kind or as curious as you can.
How good does it feel when you’re just totally being yourself, when you help someone out or when you learn something new? That is happiness so even though it sounds strange pursuing something other than happiness can actually make you happy.
Therefore, you need to be your own best mate with a healthy dose of realness and an overwhelming amount of love. It’s not something I’ve always been good at but these little tests and tricks have really helped with. Hopefully, you’ll find them useful too!