How to live compassionately with people you don’t like

We all come across people once in a while we can’t follow, of whom we don’t know what their message is. Or we interpret their behavior as unfriendly and you can’t understand why. Or they have this attitude that makes them unreachable and you don’t know how to make contact, although you have to work with them. Or someone you just continuously clash with, either at work, or in private.

There is a way to create more clarity in your relationship with the other person. To create more understanding, compassion and love from you to the other. I know what you’re thinking now: “Love towards him or her? No way! There is no friendliness, no kind gesture, let alone love!” I understand your idea or feeling. But, at the same time it is good to realize that it is creating difficulties for you, not specifically for the other one. In order to stop the negative thoughts, the anxiety, and set yourself free from the issue, you need to act. As change won’t suddenly come from the other, it is up to you to change or do something to at least understand the relationship.

So let me share an exercise with you Alan Seale once taught me and helped me put things in perspective very well and quite easily:

  1. Take a deep breath and close your eyes
  2. Feel your feet on the ground and the clothes on your skin and say your name out loud
  3. Visualize the person concerned two meters next to you
  4. Step into him or her. For just a moment, become that person and look out at your surroundings through their eyes.
  5. As him or her, feel and have a good look around. What do you see? How do you feel? Notice this. What information do you get? Try to make yourself aware of your feelings, mindset, etc.
  6. When you feel like you have received enough information, step out of the other person and step back into you. Feel your feet on the ground and the clothes on your skin, and say your name out loud.
  7. Now notice,where do you feel you should be in relationship to the other person? What is the relationship trying to show you or teach you?
  8. Whatever that new awareness is, step into that.
  9. How do you feel?

Do you understand better now what your relationship to the other person is? Did it change your perspective? Can you see better where the other person is and therewith create more acceptance of your relationship? Did it create compassion from you to the other person? At the surface the relationship might not show any change, but you will for sure have a lot more peace with it. It won’t cost you the same amount of energy anymore, or won’t hurt you as much as it did, as you can see where the other person is coming from. And by changing your perspective you are truly making a change. Because people need our compassion far more than they need our judgment.

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