Many of us never learned how to deal with unpleasant feelings in a positive way. Too many of us brood and ruminate on perceived wrongs and anger – but does this make us feel better or worse? It usually makes people feel worse. It is better to train the mind to dwell on love and compassion which will help direct our minds away from needless brooding and ruminating. Doing so also helps us see how insignificant and unimportant our petty jealousies and angers really are and help us better cultivate gratitude and love towards others.

Personally I find it important to regularly meditate on compassion toward others – especially those I am angry with or do not like. This helps me to view them first as fellow human beings with the same hopes, fears, and dreams that all people experience. This helps remind me of how much they are like myself and to break down toxic ‘us vs. them’ thinking. As we learn to practice extending grace and kindness to all others, it will help us to become even more a country of goodwill – not just toward other peoples, but also toward one another. We can meditate on kindness and compassion by regularly reading about kindness, empathy and compassion – and by critically evaluating our own behavior each night. Were we unkind towards anyone today? If so, why did we fail to maintain our own self-control and to practice grace? What can we do better in the next situation? It is important to be self-aware of how we may have contributed to a lack of kindness so we can change our own future behavior and act with greater kindness and grace tomorrow. Truth be told, we just never know how much pain another person may be dealing with behind their smile and friendly nod. Your kindness and acceptance can make a difference for other citizens – even without your awareness of it.

Ron Hill