Sometimes it’s so difficult to feel good about ourselves after we’ve been involved in situations where we’ve said something out of anger, or felt trapped and shutdown. We may have acted out, behaved badly, or even felt frozen, not knowing what to do.
How do we move from that place of feeling badly about ourselves, embarrassed or ashamed? It’s very difficult and something that takes time to cultivate. We may not be used to disciplining our minds like this however, there are steps we can take to find more peace and resolve. Compassion is the energy that helps us to move through these difficult places and forgive ourselves.
There are four steps to this practice of cultivating compassion and finding peace that are enormously helpful.
The first step is regret. When we regret our behavior, or something we’ve said, it’s an important process to recognize that we’ve harmed someone, and it’s hurtful to ourselves. Regret is not like guilt, which is driven by fear and worry. Regret is essential for change. If we don’t look at our actions and words, the tone of our voice, the energy of how we behaved or conveyed a message, then we’re not being aware of how we impact others. Regret helps us to look at ourselves and be honest. We need to feel vulnerable and in this place compassion arises.
The second step is to rely and focus on something greater then our selves. When we rely on something, it can help us get our feet on the ground when we’ve fallen. It can stabilize us. We feel more grounded, safer and more connected. In gaining a new perspective, it can give us insight around our behavior, soften the harshness of our inner critic, and be more compassionate to our selves and others.
The third step is known as the remedy. This is something we do to “right the wrong” so to speak. In doing this consciously, it helps us feel better and gives us a sense of regaining control. This is empowering, especially when we feel like we’ve lost control. We apply a remedy when we do things that help us like taking a walk and being in nature, meditating, or doing something nice for someone. It might be as little as holding the door open for someone. The intention to do something good when we’ve hurt or harmed someone gives us a better feeling about ourselves. It’s offering kindness in the place of hurt, sadness or anger. It helps us to feel more at peace when we do something that makes up for harming or hurting someone else, and we feel better about our selves.
The fourth step is making a commitment not to do the action again or at least refraining from it for any length of time. This depends on you, and what you feel comfortable committing to. It may be an hour, five minutes or maybe never. The important aspect of this is to take responsibility and make it a point to be more conscious and make the changes needed so you don’t harm others and yourself.
When we work with this skill it can help us to learn from our patterns, find more peace and compassion for others and ourselves.