Living Authentically…A Compassionate Look

In coaching school, I learned the following principal of the Therapeutic Coaching Program. In fact, it was one of the core teaching ideas and it was this:

People always do the best they can in any given situation, with the resources they have available to them at any given time.

When we are in relationship with others we can come up against times when behavior and/or actions, either of others or ourselves, are disrespectful, out of integrity and away from acting in a way that is kind and respectful. Either way, we justify it by thinking how dare they treat me that way or they had it coming! This kind of thinking leads into a cycle of judgement of ourselves and others that serves no one.

Write the name of someone that you are angry with or has hurt your feelings on a post it note. Look at the name on the paper and think about what happened. Then ask yourself what is the most generous assumption you can make about that experience. In other words, do you believe you both did the best you could with the information and resources you had?

This can be a powerful exercise that can lead to compassion and forgiveness. In another posting I will talk about setting appropriate boundaries for what is okay and what is not okay in the context of your relationships. Having boundaries is very helpful to minimize feelings of hurt and anger.

It was interesting that this very idea was part of Brene Brown’s research for her book Rising Strong. We will be discussing this idea and others at the Workshop on Exploring Forgiveness. I leave you with this quote from her book.

“All I know that my life is better when I assume people are doing their best. It keeps me out of judgement and lets me focus on what is, and not what should be.”

I would love to hear your thoughts, please leave a comment below this post…thank you!

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