Loving Kindness for Others
People pushing your buttons? Or even truly harming your mental health? We actually can train our brains and hearts to respond with care in order to make YOURSELF a much happier and less stressed person. (can be in the moment or practice training brain)
We are social creatures but let’s be real, at times people can really cause us harm or push our buttons. When this happens, our heart builds a barrier, slightly closing off, to protect us. However, we can actually train our hearts to open and respond with care for those who frustrate us. This in turn, will make YOU a much happier, less stressed person.
This practice is a loving-kindness practice while also recognizing the harm caused. As mentioned in other videos, we don’t want to stifle our feelings or pretend life and everyone in it is full of rainbows and sunshine. But holding on to the anger or sadness or frustration causes you more harm than anyone else. Practice is a keyword. This takes time and repetition.
- First, close your eyes and settle into a comfortable position. Take a deep breath and bring loving-kindness into your attention - mind and body. Gently bring your awareness to the present time. Remember it is normal to have a hard time with this…concentrate on your breath going in and out to help you.
- Bring somebody to mind who has been difficult for you. If this is your first time trying a loving-kindness practice, try choosing somebody who is mildly challenging. Someone who maybe just pushes your buttons or who you find frustrating.
- Reflect on the fact that this person experiences joy, love, sorrow, grief just like you. Start with picturing the person with a smile on their face.
- Now offer a few phrases of appreciative joy, remembering that the intention is to open your own heart to care for this person’s happiness. You can use phrases like:
- May you be happy
- May your happiness continue
- May I be happy for you
- After a couple of minutes, imagine this person experiencing pain or sorrow. Notice any response you have in your mind and/or body. Begin to now offer phrases of compassion for their difficulties. It is okay if you do not feel these phrases completely. Offer them as much as you are able to in this moment:
- May you be free from suffering
- I see your pain
- I care about your pain
- Finally, bring to mind what it is you find difficult about this person. Tune in to your mind and body’s response as you to this. And say a few phrases of compassion for yourself, setting the intention to care for the unpleasant experience.
- May I be free from suffering
- May I see my pain clearly
- May I respond with compassion
When you work on forgiveness, it might feel like you are weak or opening yourself up to future harm. Remember that forgiveness does not require you to let someone back into your life, to let them harm you, or excuse what happened. You can let go of the resentment while retaining healthy boundaries. This practice is for self-care - setting boundaries to have a forgiving heart vs. a resentful one.