We talk about four steps to creating more compassion in ourselves. The first step is noticing more. When we all get busy, distracted, or overloaded, we stop paying attention to the quality of other people’s lives. So notice more and you’ll automatically be more compassionate because you’ll see that people are in pain.
The second step is to slow down enough to interpret more generously. When a colleague makes a mistake, for instance, your first interpretation if you’re under a lot of pressure might be, “Stupid.” If you slow down a bit and say, “They’re trying, just like me. They’re overloaded, just like me. I could understand how they might have made that mistake,” that brings out more compassion in the system.
The third step is to cultivate your empathy. Empathy is the ability to feel concerned for what another person is going through, and if you interpret more generously, then that leads to the fourth step, which is stepping in to take action. So if you have a colleague who’s so overloaded that they’re making mistakes and you see it’s likely they’ll continue to do that, you may step in and offer to help. You may have a conversation with them about whether they’re aware of the pattern that they’re in. You may ask them if something else is going on in their life that’s contributing to this, that you could help alleviate. Those are the personal steps. Noticing, interpreting generously, feeling more empathy, and then taking some action.