Being Nice to Yourself is Mandatory for a Happy Life

by Anna

Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Amy Leigh Mercree, author of Joyful Living and the new Compassion Revolution.

Cultivating a loving voice in ourselves that is compassionate, aware, kind, and patient yields a better quality of life. As we start being nicer to ourselves, more accepting of our shortcomings and exercising patience, this feeling of openness and understanding ripples out to the world around us. After all, compassion is not only heroic deeds, but small unseen and often thankless kindnesses done by any one of us. And those apparently small effects do resonate out into the world.

10 healthy reasons to practice compassion:

  1. It makes us feel good (e.g., helping someone in need) and activates the pleasure circuits in our brain.
  2. It makes us less prone to heart disease.
  3. It lowers stress hormones.
  4. Brain scans done during loving-kindness meditation show that the mind wanders less, and as a result we feel happier.
  5. It makes us more caring parents.
  6. It makes us better partners.
  7. It makes us better friends.
  8. Employees who are treated with kindness and consideration at work see their workplace, fellow employees, and even the organization itself in a better light.
  9. Being kind to one person makes us less angry with another, and that feeling expands.
  10. Holding back on feelings of compassion hurts our self-esteem and undermines our morality.

Kuan Yin is known as the Goddess of Infinite Compassion and Mercy; she is like the Mother Mary of the East. Her name in Chinese means, “the one who hears the cries of the world.” She is often depicted holding a vase that is pouring the nectar of wisdom and compassion onto the world.

What if you got into that deeply present place and then explored the sensual, whether solo or with a loving partner in the same state of awareness? Would everything be richer and more intense? Would you experience sensations and pleasure in a new way? Would your soul feel fed to know you are seeing your sacredness and if a partner is involved he or she is too? Give it a try and find out!

I’ll leave you with a simple, sweet meditation on compassion:

  • Set a timer for 20 minutes.
  • Sit in a comfortable position that you can hold for that long (it can even be lying down or on a sofa).
  • Close your eyes gently and take five slow, deep breaths to quiet your mind. Focus on your breathing, giving your mind something with which to work. Relax and enjoy this feeling of peace.
  • With your eyes closed, visualize Kuan Yin, her kindness and compassion flowing down onto the world, or visualize any person that represents love and compassion in your eyes.
  • Repeat over and over and over: “May all beings everywhere be happy and free from suffering.” Visualize the words.
  • When your mind wanders, because it will, notice it, and gently draw your attention back to your repetition.
  • To end your meditation: Bring your hands together to your forehead, for clarity of thought. Bring your palms together to your mouth, for clarity of speech. Bring your palms together to your heart, for clarity of action.
  • Finish with: “Let my light shine through all the things that I am thinking, saying and doing.”
  • And now, connected with this wonderful feeling, take it out into the world with you!

As the Dalai Lama once said, “Love and compassion are necessities. They are not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

Our thanks to Amy for her guest post! For more from Amy Leigh Mercree, read her article, “The Compassion Cure.”

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