Monday’s Meditation: On The Key To Unlocking Compassion
There are two ways of seeing the world: the first is to see what is lacking, while the second is to see all the good that exists.
It is extraordinarily easy to focus on what others are doing wrong, on how they aren’t living up to their potential, on how they mishandle situations, and as easy to see ourselves in the same critical light.
The reason why we do this, why we fall into this pattern of thought is because at our core we want life to be good, smooth, and richly rewarding.
We want to give to others of our gifts and experience appreciation for those acts of service. We want to be respected; we want to work hard and do our work effectively. We want to make happy memories and leave others with positive impressions of us. And we want the same thing for our loved ones.
This inner desire for goodness, integrity, and discipline is, ironically, what often drives us to a critical mindset; where reality and our desires veer from each other is the point at which we start to nit-pick.
Yet that same desire also proves true the one acknowledgment that immediately dispels criticism: we’re all doing our best.
I know for certain I am–every day, in every single way, I am trying so diligently and lovingly to do my best. And I know the same is true for everyone I know. And I’m pretty sure the people my people know are trying their best too, and really, I mean, that’s just too many people to be a fluke.
The person who doesn’t care about their performance, who doesn’t consider other people’s feelings, who has no ambition or awareness is the exception.
Even those of us who may not act in ways most of us would consider optimal, even they are probably doing their best. That girl sending manipulative, guilt-trippy emails your way probably doesn’t get off on being a nag. More likely, she’s filled with sadness, insecurity, and a need for validation. And maybe she hasn’t quite figured out how to articulate that, so it comes out as, “Whatever, dunno if I can hang out nymore. You could have given me more notice. Crazy week. Well c.”
Most of us really are doing the very best we can, every day.
Thing of it is, each of our “bests” is different, since each of our strengths and challenges is different, each of our life circumstances are different, each of our destinies and need for spirit growth–different.
To look at all people, including ourselves, believing we’re doing our best is to adopt a mindset of compassion. It’s to favor accentuating what is good over what’s lousy. This thought serves to remind us that any errors–whether made on our own part or on the part of someone else–are just that: unintended outcomes contrary to our innermost desires, rather than deliberate acts of inattention, unkindness, or arrogance.
There’s only one caveat: best is still a fluid concept. There is always opportunity for optimization and growth. The sign of a successful life is a continual surpassing of previous ability and a sustained commitment to raise your personal standard for excellence. In that sense, you are doing your best when you are continually striving to be better.
Never allow the thought that you’re doing your best excuse you from continually improving, nor expecting of others to improve, as well.
Your best is your best, and it need not ultimately be your greater best.
Other Posts You May Love
Search The Blog
Simplify Your World
Sign up for the email list to get inspiration and simplified tips sent right to your inbox.