How do we begin to understand others, when it can be difficult to understand ourselves? Why is it that we insist that we have the answers for those around us when we too struggle to change? People can seem to annoy us, piss us off, and cause us pain. We say “if they would just change, our life would be better”. We might suggest “if our co-workers would start acting like they should our job and workday would be easier”. It’s common for us to say that if our partners would change, our marriage, or relationship, would be better. We plead to our kids that if they would just simply listen to us, we’d worry less and they’d “obviously be better off because we know better”. Being able to relate and show compassion to others brings more understanding, and better grounds for communication in our relationships. Understanding and compassion helps us grow and it brings ourselves the peace we seek.
The path to peace and finding the common ground ALWAYS begins with us. Even if the other person takes the first step towards change or making amends, WE STILL have to be the receiver of those amends. In essence, we still have to be the one to initiate peace for ourselves because that is the ultimate goal. Since peace is experienced within, we have to allow this understanding, peace, and compassion to be allowed within. Simply waiting for others to change is actually an act of pride and resentment, not a motion towards resolution.
We all have biases, we all have judgments, we all have a need to serve our egos and feel validation. This is human. Is it possible we can work through these aspects of self so we can find more contentment and more peace?
The next time you are feeling a need to tell someone how they should be, or what they should do, remind yourself of your own life struggles. It’s possible that simple changes for you may not be so simple for them. Maybe you can reflect on some form of behavior in your life you are attempting to stop. Your task would be to cease that behavior immediately. Now at this moment of awareness…never do this thing you are trying to change again. (It’s not that simple, right?) Maybe in doing this you are reminded how difficult change is for you. Maybe you become aware of some resentment towards yourself because of your inability to change. Maybe your capacity for empathy and compassion increases when you take time to reflect on the concept of shared struggle. We all can relate to difficulty, pain, and struggle. Though, our paths are different, we all experience struggle as we navigate life and seek change.
The peace we are ultimately seeking comes in the change we make for ourselves, not the changes we are encouraging others to make. Increasing our sense of awareness of seeing ourselves in others, as well as others in ourselves, can go a long way in making the change that we may seek. These changes we seek in our lives that were once viewed as out of our control are now attainable because we recognize the responsibility we have to make them ourselves.