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By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: May 30, 2014, from the June 2014 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”
—Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher
Inspiration can come from many places. Although it is preferable that it comes in a positive package, sometimes that isn’t the case. I received an e-mail recently from a reader who had a concern about some of the imagery used within an article from a previous issue. Although she had a point and her problem with the imagery had some validity, she also included several sentences in her e-mail that insinuated that myself and my team don’t work very hard to provide the very best content for our readers. This I took issue with, knowing full well the countless hours and back-and-forth with authors and art and sales and marketing that we do on a daily basis in order to maintain the integrity that Skin Inc. is known for. Let me assure you, our job is not easy, cushy or a constant joyride of exotic travel and delicious facials.
What this e-mail did highlight for me was the danger of making assumptions, and most people do this everyday ... me included! Whether it be about clients, co-workers, competitors, team members or even the waitress at the restaurant where you eat lunch, we all assume we know what’s going on with the other person and judge them, usually pretty harshly. It seems that the practice of giving the benefit of the doubt has gone by the wayside. And, of course, if your judgement is coming from repeated experience—such as a client who is constantly 15 minutes late—there’s a good reason for it. However, when it’s truly unfounded, why not practice a bit of compassion?
There isn’t a single person that you encounter during your day who is without problems. Every person—young or old, rich or poor, married or single—is struggling with something. That is part of the human condition. In order to make the world a better place, instead of making that snap judgement about a person and her circumstances, take 10 seconds and ask yourself if it’s really necessary to criticize. Consider what they potentially may be experiencing or going through before rushing to judgement. This is a habit that takes time to develop, especially if compassion is something you don’t practice often. However, soon, after pausing before judging, you will find that it becomes more of your daily experience. According to the Dalai Lama, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
Love and compassion—like proper skin care—are not luxuries; they are necessities. So the next time you find yourself rushing to judgement about the circumstances of someone in your life—whether it be your co-worker or the cranky woman at the post office or the guy tailgating you on your commute—take 10 seconds and give them the benefit of the doubt. Chances are, this practice of compassion will be brought back to you tenfold. After all, don’t you want people to consider your personal circumstances before they make a harsh judgement about you? I know I do.
Until next month,