Powerful women: Leading with compassion
The Golden Rule and Leadership
We’ve all heard the biblical commandment “Love your neighbor as yourself”.
[Tweet "Most of us concentrate on the love your neighbor part rather than loving yourself. "]
I often speculate that this may be the problem underlying all the chaos in our world today. If you can’t love yourself – really love yourself, and acknowledge and accept all that you are – it is unlikely that you can really love other people either. How can powerful women or women leaders contribute? We as humans have a need to be cared for, and to care for others. We crave love and human companionship and, for the most part, we enjoy caring for others. My observation, however, is that our culture has trained us to rebuke ourselves for our shortcomings, and for not reaching the pinnacle of our perceived capability. This training has led to a nation full of highly stressed people who suffer from a confusion of self-hatred, anxiety, fear, feelings of failure, incompetence, vulnerability and a deep yearning for control.
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Karen Armstrong says in her book, “The Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life”, that “the Golden Rule requires self-knowledge; it asks that we use our own feelings as a guide to our behavior with others”. The irony of that is if we treat ourselves harshly, we are likely to treat others in the same manner. How can we, as powerful women, work to create this deep, inner knowing of who we are? How can we help others as they seek to do the same?
Compassion is a deep acceptance of the wholeness of who we are, knowing that we are worthy, we are human, and we are capable of transforming the world as we know it.
[Tweet "This takes a huge amount of courage. "]
In the words of the Dalai Lama, this act of “radical reorientation away from our habitual preoccupation with self” will allow you to give yourself compassion for being who you are, every day. You are then able to look outside your own world and reach your hand out to others in love, empathy and compassion.
When we combine compassion with leadership, we step into the world in a powerful way. We lead and teach at the same time, helping those around us to feel worthy, to step into their humanity, and to ground themselves in who they are. They, in turn, lead others. This is the way back to the world we would like to see, where we care for others, and are cared for.
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