From the desk of Teresa Jordan – I recently did some training that began with a mindfulness exercise; the exercise is called the just like me practice, which is well known and comes up countless times in an internet search. The exercise was impactful because it began with holding in my mind someone that I did not particularly like, and then had me work through dozens of statements like, “This person has been disappointed in life, just like me.”
I know that mindfulness is not for everyone, a little bit of imagination, deep breathing, noticing and discipline to go deep sometimes. But the just like me exercise really did make me think. I held the face of the person in my mind’s eye and then I really did realize that, just like me, they had been sad, felt inadequate, been frightened, longed for friendship, were still learning about life, wished to be free from pain, wished to be happy… and will die.
Several times at conferences or meetings I have had to talk or work with a new colleague and inevitably we find common ground, shared interests, shared passions. As humans we are all unique and have our own gifts to share, but in many ways, we are so very much the same. We are born, we live, we try the best with the tools we have, and we finish our time on the earth.
Brene Brown says, “ I know my life is better when I work from the assumption that everyone is doing the best they can.” Everyone we meet is trying to live a good life, turn away from pain and trauma, find a little joy. Everyone we meet has faced great challenge and great triumph. It’s not that I think we will all instantly love all other humans after we do this meditation exercise; however, the journey may be a little easier when we are hurt, angry, annoyed, or bothered to remember that we are all trying to make the best of it. Everyone is seeking some answers, trying to figure it out, trying to be well and do good, just like me and you.
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