Pema Chödrön, Don’t Bite the Hook Part 6 of 6: Self-Compassion
November 13, 2009 by Dr. Lam
When we don’t get angry at someone, what happens? We feel better. Maybe not right away, and maybe not after even a few initial encounters of doing so. However, over time as we relinquish any angry feelings, we start to understand the beauty of non-violence.
Some people say, “How do you not get angry at someone mistreating you? You have every right to be angry.” But what happens when you get angry at that person, you feel sick inside, right? As Chödrön says, if you have no compassion for the person who is angry at you, practice some compassion for yourself. Compassion so that you yourself do not “bite the hook” and get into the maelstrom of inner turmoil, negativity, hatred, and pettiness. So if you can’t have compassion for the other person, have it for yourself.
Beyond that, remember that at a very fundamental level compassion for yourself is the beginning of all compassion for others. Most spiritual warriors who go out into the world to help others always begin with themselves. I like to say when their cup is empty, they have no way of filling another’s cup. Filling your own cup is the start of being able to connect, interact, help, and share compassion with others. Begin with self-compassion today and resist the temptation to engage, escalate, and hurt back. It will ultimately destroy both of you. As they say, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” Don’t dig your own grave.