Picture a Compassionate Figure

April 5, 2021

By Meghan Greenwood

Listen to the blog: https://open.spotify.com/episode/2KCjVjjstiXsZMHu0naL9O

Think of someone in your world who has always been there for you. They have always lent a shoulder and an ear. Preferably, this figure does not judge and does not try to fix you.

Most importantly, this figure should be someone who you are comfortable sharing your emotions with. Anytime you feel the need to scream, they pat your back. When you feel the need to cry, they dry your tears. If you are excited, they are equally happy. They quietly let you express your feelings and provide comfort when you need it most.

For the majority of people, this ‘person’ may not exist – humans are full of biases, history, and their own ways of coping. It doesn’t mean we’re all heartless or that we should ignore the actual people in our circle. Nobody is perfect. It does, however, open the task to imaginary figures.

Maybe there is an actor whose work speaks to you. A deity or religious figure that you hold in highest regard. Or a fictional staple that embodies kindness and compassion (enter Sesame Street’s Big Bird). As described by Dr. Lee Baggley in her book ‘Healthy Habits Suck’, the visualization of a compassionate figure can help you get through the hardest of circumstances.

The process is simple. When you are experiencing any sort of big emotions, close your eyes and think about that special someone sitting right next to you. Imagine them giving you a warm smile or simply placing their hand on top of yours. Stay in the moment as long as you need.

Notice then if you are able to move forward with more hope, more understanding, and a greater appreciation for your sentiments. Often, folks deem their emotions as a nuisance to tangible people or are embarrassed to talk about them. Hopefully, with your compassion buddy nearby, you are feeling comforted and worthy of that moment.

So, the next time you’re having a rough day and want to bury yourself under the covers, let the emotions flood but with that figure pictured by your bedside. The next time you achieve a small victory, think about that figure giving you a high five. The next time you need someone behind you, cheering you on or telling you it’s going to be ok, picture that big yellow bird.

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