Self-Compassion Will Make Your Life Easier
We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. - Albert Einstein
We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
~ Albert Einstein
Eileen and Raul had been sharing an office for two years. They had a system for their division of labor and workspace, and it worked well. Eileen got assigned to another division for a month and moved to another office for that time. Raul said he’d cover both of their responsibilities while Eileen was gone.
Five weeks later, Eileen’s assignment ended, and she returned to the office she shared with Raul. Raul, during those five weeks, found the doubled workload overwhelming, so he developed new ways of getting the work done with less effort. He presented his unique methods to Eileen, and she immediately saw the benefits of them. They began to implement the new ways into their joint system. The next few days were the most efficient they ever had.
One day Raul grabbed the stapler from Eileen’s desk. She exploded, “that’s my stapler! And you didn’t take me to lunch to welcome me back! I was gone for five weeks, and all you can do is talk about how great your new systems are!” Raul, feeling attacked, began defending himself. The resulting argument cost them three days of misery.
Eileen was clearly feeling upset. She also mentioned four issues. What was she experiencing?
In my talk during June training week, I introduced the idea of Self-Compassion. Self-Compassion is taking care of ourselves first; that way, we can care for our families, friends, and colleagues from a reservoir of inner strength.
The deepest root of Self-Compassion is Self-Awareness. Paying attention to our thoughts and feelings can frequently save us and others a lot of unnecessary suffering. We often confuse our thoughts about something-our attachments, and how we think something should be-our expectations, with the reality of the situation. We then spend our energies reacting to the perceived threats or benefits to our attachments and expectations. This expenditure usually makes things harder for everyone involved, especially ourselves. Instead, if we can see our thoughts and feelings first, we can navigate a situation to make our lives easier.
Imagine if Eileen had been aware of what she was feeling. She could have spoken clearly about her inner-thoughts and saved herself and Raul days of anguish.
This awareness also takes energy. So we have to decide what do we want out of every situation. Frequently what we want is different than how we feel. It’s easy to react to threats and advantages because they seem so palpable, but what if they don’t reflect what we truly want? It can be tough to separate our feelings from our goals. Are we willing to take care of ourselves even if focusing on what we want doesn’t feel as natural as reacting?
Pay attention to yourself, and you’ll be able to care for those around better.
It is my honor to be your guide as you move learn to create your workspace.
If Raul or Eileen's experience sounds familiar to you and you want to learn ways to navigate these kinds of situations, please contact me here.
Posted June 28, 2019