- Posted by jwp_institute
- On March 24, 2018
- 0 Comments
“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”
–Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh, an author and renowned teacher of Zen Buddhism, was exiled from his home in Vietnam in 1966 for providing education, housing, and medical care for victims of the Vietnam War in the early-60s. He can practically be considered an expert in the field of compassion, because it led him to realize that the supposed enemies waging battle around his home were not his enemies at all; the true enemies were hate, anger and discrimination.
So when Nhat Hanh says that the antidote to anger is compassion he means it. Until we can practice compassion, even when it is inconvenient to us, our communication and insight channels will be easily clogged and we will be weighed down with misunderstandings and anger.
A Virtue for Everyman
Excellent leaders, team players, and professionals from all walks of life know the gifts that compassion can bring to their lives. It is one of the tenets of respect. Leaders who harbor and express compassion build trust, are good listeners, and are always looking out for the best interests of the people around them.
Team players who show compassion also form trust in their relationships, know how to read others socially and emotionally, and are great communicators. In many ways, being a highly successful team player is just as complex as leading the team because it requires an adeptness in listening and knowing when others need help; things that require compassion and empathy.
Any working professional can benefit from locating the reserves of compassion inside of them and diving in. Compassionate individuals create environments where relationships thrive, and people feel respected, accepted, and never judged. When people feel acknowledged and empowered, they are liberated in a sense, and can reach their highest potentials.
Anger and Forgiveness
Anger is an emotion that can eat away at us, and it certainly does the person holding on to that anger great harm. When experiencing anger, it’s intelligent to wait for it to recede before making any decisions or new actions. But what is the antidote to anger? Compassion!
Compassion has the power to defend us from anger because it allows us to relate to others, and when we understand and empathize, we can let go of the suffering that our anger causes us. Once we have tapped in to our compassion, we have simultaneously tapped in to our ability to forgive, which can be enormously uplifting and healing. Without compassion, forgiveness is impossible.
Language and Listening
Regardless of our good intentions, if we cannot listen to another person, we hurt them. The wounds can be subtle or overt. They can be seen immediately or they can arrive later down the road but in order to be a good listener, compassion needs to be exercised. We cannot listen for very long or very well without compassion because we will find ourselves judging and analyzing instead of listening deeply. Deep listening opens up the flow of communication and the next step then, is to use your words wisely. Language is meaningful, especially when it has been difficult in the past, so speak with compassion in the hopes of alleviating tension and opening up better channels of communication.
A Note on Patience…
At The Institute of Respect, I teach others that acting with compassion is a lifelong practice. It changes and shifts as you move through it yet it will undoubtedly bring about transformation sooner or later. Be compassionate, be patient, and most importantly, do not react with anger!