How to be a prisoner

cute frog statue in a bird cage

“Care about what others think and you will always be their prisoner.” ~Lao Tzu

I used to think that caring about another person meant that I had to care about what they thought of me, but I’ve learned over time that I can actually care about another person better when I am not caught up in trying to edit who I am to manipulate their opinion of me. Setting them free to think whatever they think sets me free to be true to who I actually am.

The best assumption

water lily flowering with green leaves and dark water in background

“All I know is that my life is better when I assume people are doing their best.” ~Brené Brown

It’s so easy to assume the worst of others, and the self-righteous anger in that moment can be an addicting high. But life is so much better when we assume that others are doing their best and move toward compassion instead when we see that they don’t have the resources to do better.

Why we quarrel

two stone bird statues looking as if they are arguing

“We are never so disposed to quarrel with others as when we are dissatisfied with ourselves.” ~William Hazlitt

It’s so easy to project our dissatisfaction with ourselves outward onto others. It feels easier than dealing with our issues with ourselves, but it can do so much damage to our relationships that create more work for us to mend.

What would happen if the next time you are feeling inclined to quarrel with those around you, you stopped to consider where you are dissatisfied with yourself instead of starting that argument with them?

What might that do for your own growth and for peace in your relationships and the world around you?

What makes compassion real

two people's hands holding one another in a comforting pose

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” ~Pema Chödrön

True compassion requires that we be present with all of people, including their darkness, which often shows itself most strongly when they are afraid and in pain. To do that, we must get to know our own darkness and develop compassion for that part of ourselves first. It’s the hardest kind of compassion to develop, but it’s one of the gifts available to us through kintsugi living.

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