Increased Self-Compassion Breeds Greater Compassion for Others

One day I was driving through the local shopping center, and I thought about how far removed I felt from the person walking in front of the stop sign in which I was stopped. I was ready to continue driving the instant that person cleared the area. Why I myself am a pedestrian I feel vulnerable to the cars. But when I am in a car I feel protected by a suit of armor, far removed from the pedestrian experience.

Recently I started reading the book Self-Compassion by Dr. Kristin Neff. And I think it is because of this reading that I thought of the following metaphor: When I criticize my husband, I am wearing a suit of armor. I am feeling separate from my feelings, my flaws. So it’s much easier for me to dish out criticism and negative energy to him. He is the pedestrian, and I am the driver in the car. But if I could connect to how it feels to be a pedestrian—if I could relate to my own flaws and remind myself how it feels to be a fragile, imperfect human being—then I think I would be kinder when imparting criticism to my husband.

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