How not to strangle someone

Sep 13, 2019

Ever have someone push your buttons once too often? Yep, me too. This has also come up a few times recently with my coaching clients as well. We can complain about it, or we can do something about it.

Let’s make some lovingkindness.

I’ve shared this before and it feels like a good time to share it again. This is a calming, peace-generating meditation practice that can soothe even the most aggravated soul.

Yes, please.

Lovingkindess is a simple meditation practice. The purpose is to direct goodwill toward others, including those you completely disagree with, who push your buttons and otherwise drive you absolutely crazy. It’s my favorite way to feel calmer when what I really want to do is strangle someone.

Studies show that lovingkindess meditation can make us feel happier and more connected to others. As our connections grow stronger, perhaps we’ll be more likely to treat others more kindly. I also believe we generate positive energy that helps push out the negative.

It’s not just for when we’re struggling with someone. It’s always a good time to practice this. On our recent hiking trip in Peru, one of our fellow trekkers became terribly sick and struggled mightily. Our guides took good care of her physically so I looked for another way to help. I included her in my lovingkindess meditation as a way to generate good energy for her. Couldn’t hurt.

It’s easy to do. Start by sitting comfortably either on a chair or on the floor. Gently close your eyes. The meditation is a repetition of phrases, starting with ourselves before moving on to others.

Traditional phrases include:

May I be well.

May I be happy.

May I be safe.

May I be at peace.

After repeating these a few times for ourselves, we move on to someone we like, maybe someone who’s helped us, someone we love. Call their face to mind as you repeat:

May you be well.

May you be happy.

May you be safe.

May you be at peace.

Next we shift into neutral, considering someone we neither love nor hate toward. I typically think of someone I just met, or cashiers in shops, or the guy directing traffic in town.

May you be well.

May you be happy.

May you be safe.

May you be at peace.

Then we consider someone we don’t like, someone we have a negative relationship with. Could be someone in our personal lives, or in the public eye. As best as we can, we say:

May you be well.

May you be happy.

May you be safe.

May you be at peace.

I find it’s helpful to remind myself that this person was once someone’s baby, someone’s child and is a human, even if they’re not always acting like a good human.

Then we direct our lovingkindness to all beings everywhere. Sometimes I imagine sitting down with the three other people I held in my thoughts while doing this meditation:

May we be well.

May we be happy.

May we be safe.

May we be at peace.

Try this a few days a week. Five minutes is a great starting time. As with all meditation, it gets easier to do on a regular basis.

May you be well. May you be happy. May you be safe. May you be at peace.

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