I know this sounds obvious, but I feel it’s an important declaration and truth to internalize. When we understand that all people are good, innately, divinely good to the core, we understand that there is no such thing as bad people, only bad behavior. People who are hurting, hurt others. They have unmet needs that they don’t know how to meet so they try to meet their needs in sometimes deleterious ways.
Think of all the times you acted less than stellar. You may believe it is because you are bad. But you are wrong. You are good. Good to the core. We’ve all behaved badly in an attempt to meet our needs. Have you ever been argumentative or irritable because you were tired? You aren’t a combative and mean person, but when you are tired and have a need for rest, it’s harder to stay calm and not lash out because of unmet physical needs.
When you realize the truth–that you are innately good–you free yourself from focusing on your badness or “sin,” and instead allow yourself to investigate your unmet needs. Investigating unmet needs leads to real change. Progress becomes possible when you can look upon your behavior with compassion and determine how you will next time strive to meet your needs in a far more effective manner.
Concerning self-compassion, the extent to which you can be compassionate with yourself determines the extent you are able to extend compassion to others. You’ll start to see that they too are innately good and that any ill-behavior is simply a result of unmet needs.
So the next time you fall short in your behavior, or you witness someone else perform poorly, try to decipher what need they have that isn’t being met. And remind yourself that they must be hurting for only hurting people hurt others.
Lord grant me eyes to see the needs of others. And give me strength and wisdom to fill any unmet needs. See my post about Eyes to See here.