Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Rarely do we take the time to understand how others feel. Instead we are quick to judge, blame, and become angry in the heat of disagreement or assumption. We don’t realize how easily we would resolve our issues with others if we simply put ourselves in the other persons shoes for just a moment.
The next time you don’t see eye to eye with someone or a person irritates you, hit pause on your emotional reaction, and ask yourself, “Do I know what this person has been through today or where they are coming from?” I am frequently guilty of reminding my spouse of this when he is suffering from frustration with other drivers on the freeway. “What if they are lost, old, upset, running out of gas….” While your spouse may not be open to your feedback, this exercise will help you to find compassion instead of intolerance.
Additionally, you can model this with your children. Share your process with them. Coach them to think about how others might be feeling. This is a simple and easy exercise to practice with siblings, playmates, or children on the playground when there are disagreements over toys, hurtful comments, or other misunderstandings. Teach empathy while practicing it yourself!
To your Mindfulness and Grace!