The heart is a unique vessel. It can never be filled to overflowing; it expands to hold as much love as you can grow. By consciously increasing the amount of compassion in your heart, negative emotions get crowded out. Compassion can becomes such a strong force within you that you begin to react with compassion instead of with negative emotions such as anger, resentment and frustration.
So how do we go about it? How do we quiet and slow those negative emotional reactions that spring out of us when the rubber meets the road? The answer may just surprise you; for many it may even be unpalatable. Basically, you need to learn to love yourself first before you can love others. Once you can show yourself compassion, then you can forgive and love others much more easily.
Begin with these basic practices and see what happens.
1: Pay extra attention to your self-talk. We participate in a horrible amount of demeaning and negative talk towards ourselves. Every time you catch yourself engaging in any sort of negative self talk, even gentle put downs. Immediately say two nice things about yourself.
This practice is simple. It does, however take time to sink in, so have patience and keep it up. Eventually the affirmations will overpower the negatives.
2: Pamper yourself a little. Allowing yourself a few comforts is very affirming. Many of us habitually deny ourselves even the simplest of pleasures. We put everyone else ahead of ourselves as we serve our families, our bosses and our fears. While you may not need a monthly pedicure, you are worth it. And when it comes down to it, you do need to value, love and respect yourself. Show that you do with action. The actions will speak louder than any words. That includes any negative talk lingering in your head. Keep proving it with action and it will sink in.
Pampering yourself doesn’t need to be a huge or expensive thing. While I firmly believe every mom should get a massage every month, the pampering can be shown in small and simple ways and be just as effective.
3: When someone annoys you, look at yourself first. Look back to a time when you acted the same way. Look back to a time when you showed the same behaviors. We are all capable of being the bad guy. By looking at ourselves we gain access to commonality. We have this capacity to be the bad guy in common with that other person, thus we can relate. The more commonality we have with people, the easier it is to find compassion towards them.
Caution: The level to which these practices strike you as unappealing and difficult is the same level to which you need them.
Remember: Using compassion to help release drama at the heart center can only be a good thing. If it helps reduce our susceptibility to breast cancer as well as filling our lives with more positive emotion, so be it.