Since we all know we can only change ourselves and not others, the key is to find a way to calm ourselves regardless of what the other woman is doing. And one of the ways we can do that is through compassion.
I want to share an exercise with you that will help you find some compassion for the other woman in your life. But first, let’s be clear about a few things:
In order for you to be tolerant of this person, you have to actually WANT peace. You have to want to stop being the victim, you have to want to stop being right by making her wrong. Yes, even if you think she’s a horrible mom or stepmom! If you don’t want these things, you will sabotage your attempts at peace, every time.
So how do we have empathy for someone who has caused us so much grief? Try this wonderful exercise I learned from Dr. Wendy Lyon:
1. Take a deep breath.
2. Get comfortable and relaxed.
3. Focus your attention on the other woman. Think about her. I know it hurts, but you can do it.
4. Now repeat these words:
“Just like me, this person is seeking some happiness for her life”.
“Just like me, this person is trying to avoid suffering in her life”.
“Just like me, this person has known sadness, loneliness and despair”.
“Just like me, this person is seeking to fulfill her needs”.
“Just like me, this person is learning about life”.
How did it feel?
Having compassion for another is one way to break the cycle of anger, resentment, and frustration. When we put ourselves in another’s shoes, it’s harder to feel the hatred. We realize, in a way, they’re just like us: human.
Sure, some of us have better coping and communication skills than others, some have had better upbringings and were taught useful social skills that help us move through life a little easier. But in the end, we’re all just doing our best with what we’ve got.
Having compassion is a skill, so practice it frequently and see what changes for you.
© 2011 Jenna Korf All Rights Reserved
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