Understanding yourself is a gateway to being compassionate with others.
Humans are collectively more alike than they think. Recent studies in human psychology concluded that being compassionate with oneself is a stepping stone towards developing a stronger sense of empathy.
Humans are compassionate by nature but are conditioned to act otherwise. In fact, some psychology experts suggest that any behaviors or qualities that we shun actually exist within ourselves but are just suppressed and denied.
Here’s how you can understand others by learning more about yourself.
Understanding Your Personal Growth
When we think of ourselves and our thought patterns and intentions, we are biased to be more forgiving. This is not because we’re flawed and self-centered by nature, but because we simply have a dynamic, round view of how we think and thus are inclined to render even our most selfish actions as well-intentioned.
On the flip side, we are far less forgiving of other people’s actions, even those who are closest to us. This is simply because we have a flat perspective of them that doesn’t account for what they might have gone through in the past. We don’t have access to their timelines, traumas, or reasoning behind acting or reacting in specific ways. We take everything at face value, and we’re thus far less inclined to be compassionate or understanding with others.
To understand others better, you need to become aware of your own personal growth and how you have changed over the years as a person. Despite how judgemental we can be, we’re ironically far more alike than we think. In fact, when we judge someone as inconsiderate, arrogant, or selfish, we are only capable of interpreting their behavior and adding a label to it because we have once been in their shoes.
It’s impossible to identify a personality trait or emotion without having experienced it first-hand. So, next time you roll your eyes when someone seems to act a little pretentious, think about the times your insecurities have compelled you to act in a similar manner. In reality, no one has a flat, unchanging character, and we’re all bound to experience similar phases; they are simply expressed differently.
How You Attract Partners
Whether you believe in the law of attraction and new age spirituality or not, there’s truth to how we attract certain people to our lives based on our mindsets and personal growth. Suppose you’re constantly attracting the same kinds of partners and notice repeated patterns in your relationships. In that case, this is a sign that some unresolved inner conflicts and traumas are continually drawing you to the same situations. If you don’t stop and think about what invites these patterns into your life, you will see no end to them. A good way to put an end to such loops is to take a break from meeting new people and trying to understand ourselves before we try to understand other people.
You can’t have successful relationships, whether they’re platonic, professional, or romantic, when you’re incapable of understanding the human psyche, and there’s no better way to do that than to look inwards. When you start seeing yourself in other people, and when you naturally become more compassionate as a consequence, this is a sign that you’re ready to attract more fulfilling intimate connections into your life.
How Trauma Affects You
Professional therapy is an effective way of understanding our hidden thought patterns and intentions. For instance, victims of child abuse are more likely to be domestic abuse victims in their adulthood. Some psychologists suggest that they are conditioned to stay in abusive situations because they’re afraid of the unknown. A licensed therapist would help you understand these subconscious drives behind your actions and bring them to the surface to understand them and work on changing them actively.
Resolving trauma is one of the most important steps towards understanding yourself and others. You begin to see your drives beyond what they appear on the surface and understand your peers better and more compassionately. For instance, if you know a compulsive liar, they have probably been conditioned to lie in their childhoods in order to avoid abuse.
If you know someone who’s a little selfish, they were probably conditioned to hoard everything for themselves because they spent a significant part of their lives having their needs and desires denied, shunned, and rejected. Trauma shapes all of us, and it’s only when you understand how it has shaped you that you will begin to understand how it has affected those around you, including your loved ones.
If you’ve been struggling to empathize with your loved ones, it’s probably because you struggle to understand yourself. There’s no better way to understand those around you than looking inwards; identifying repeated patterns, triggers, and the drives behind your actions are key to becoming compassionate with yourself and others. No one is without flaws, but you need to remind yourself that they all result from past experiences and common fears, which we are all guilty of having.