Practicing compassion when you are angry and afraid

One of the hardest things to do – when you are being bullied, is to practice compassion. Bullies are scary. It’s hard to even think of being nice when we are scared. In fact, it’s hard to think at all when we are scared.

This is precisely why it’s important to practice compassion. Compassion takes you out of your own head enough to think. Instead of being afraid, you are – compassionate, with yourself and your instincts and with the other person.

What we often don’t realize is that the other person, who is scaring us, is behaving the way they do, because they are afraid of us. And since we are reacting to them with fear and anger, they feel justified in their fear and anger to behave the way they do.

A funny thing happens when I do my training for companies. Everyone starts behaving better in a way to make sure the other person – is caught being a horrible person. The result is – since no one is being horrible, everyone is being nice and the relationships all improve.

School bullies are no different. Many are just afraid and so are acting out pre-emptively. If you aren’t going to like them – they will act out to make sure your imagined scorn is validated. It’s stupid, but then, we humans are not exactly known from our presence of mind under stress. Those that are calm and cool under stress – are amazing people.

Most of us – are not amazing. Which is why, the next time you find yourself feeling anticipatory stress about some interpersonal interaction, I want you to think of the people you are worried about with compassion. How would you behave differently, if you weren’t scared of them? Then, go in and act as if you aren’t afraid of them.

You may just find that – their negative behavior towards you – was a result of their negative anticipation of rejection.

And if you’ve read the Harry Potter books, you will know that the house elf Kreacher, starts out horrible, and as Harry and his friends start treating him with compassion, they find out, he was actually really great.

Always remember, everyone needs compassion. Even Kreachers.