Have you ever been in situations where you have been subjected to other people’s snide remarks or mockery (of course, under the guise of innocent teasing).
When you are subjected to this type of unkindness by friends or by family members, it can be easy to make an excuse.
“Perhaps they are just having a bad day or they are just teasing, or I shouldn’t be so sensitive.” However, sometimes teasing can feel more like meanness. You may leave your friends feeling inadequate or worthless and then question why you are friends with them.
During the holidays, I watched the Cinderella movie. In this movie, Ella’s mother tells her to “have courage and be kind.” When I saw this movie, I felt instantly drawn to her ability to see love and light while in the midst of being used and abused by her family.
Even though this is a fairy tale, we still have the power to choose whether to retaliate or rise above the humiliation. The most effective reaction to unkindness is to be able to express compassion.
In order to have compassion for others, it is critical to be able to practice self-compassion. This means feeling the hurt of the other persons’ actions and the messages that it gave you. If someone’s words bothered you in some way, instead of brushing it off or pushing it down, it is helpful to explore what bothered you about their message and feeling the affects of that hurt. Compassion enables us to see the hurt, insecurity, and wounds of the person who is behaving in an unkind manner.
Chelsey Beauchamp, MS