Turning Anger into CompassionMay 07, 2006
Anger has its place. It is there to move us. It tells us things aren't right. But we don't want to get lost in anger. We need to be conscious of it.
Compassion means: Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.
There are two phases to turning anger into compassion. Phase one is looking at the situation from the other person's perspective. Phase two is understanding that people must be in pain to act the way they act.
There are things that people do unintentionally that upset us. Phase one would be to take the time to see things from the other person's perspective. There is really no need to be upset once we understand that we are all trying to get somewhere in our car. Once we see that that person doesn't know our situation, and was just acting probably as we would act if we were them. That perspective allows space into the situation. It allows perspective and understanding.
Then there are times when the other person is actually being malicious. They are trying to sabotage us in our work environment, take our job, abusing power, trying to embarrass us in public, or they are treating us poorly in one way or another on purpose. What do we do then? Well, you still use phase one, which is looking at the situation from their perspective. Once we realize that that person is doing something we don't understand, we try to find compassion.
The way we find compassion is we begin to realize, right now, that people don't act poorly like that unless they are in pain. Unless they have been wronged in the past.
I will point out that it's interesting that humans don't need to be taught to lie. A small child will lie about being caught in the cookie jar all by themselves. But that's just self preservation, it's not really malicious.
If we make it a practice to one, look at problems from the other person's perspective, and two, understand that people are in pain and act poorly because of it, we can turn our own anger into compassion.
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