Respond: Better By Monday

“No one becomes more understanding or forgiving because he or she reads somewhere that this is a good way to be.  Abstract concepts, no matter how laudable, have little effect on behavior.”  -McKay & Fanning, Self-Esteem.

Practice makes purpose a reality. Talking about how to be more understanding is a start but practicing understanding is more valuable. The beautiful thing about compassion, love in action, is that when you begin to behave with compassion towards others you develop a compassionate mind in the process.

One Thing to Do: Practice having a Compassionate Response.

McKay and Fanning wrote about the eight step process to respond compassionately in their book, Self-Esteem.  They suggest that a compassionate response contains three components: understanding, acceptance, and forgiveness. Remember that forgiving someone who has been abusive is often best done with professional help and when you are safe.

The three themes show up in a series of eight statements (see below) which we are invited to commit to memory by the authors. This quick reference to moving with compassion towards others and self can be adjusted to fit statements that you think reflect your style while staying true to the theme of the segment.  Also, repeat a set of questions (to yourself) until you can create the desired response.

The Compassionate Response

Three Questions to Create Understanding:

  1. What need was (he, she, I) trying to meet with that behavior?
  2. What belief or awareness influenced the behavior?
  3. What pain, hurt, or other feelings influenced the behavior?

Three Statements to Create Acceptance:

  1. I wish ______ hadn’t happened, but it was merely an attempt to meet (his, her, my) needs.
  2. I accept (him, her, myself) without judgment or feeling of wrongness for that attempt.
  3. No matter how unfortunate (his, her, my) decision, I accept the person who did it as someone who is, like all of us, trying to survive.

Two Statements to create Forgiveness:

  1. It’s over; I can let go of it.
  2. Nothing is owed for this mistake.


Dawna Daigneault

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., LPC.

Zest of Life, LLC. Professional Counseling.

Better By Monday: Do you Lift or Lean?

Better By MondayMonday isn’t always given the respect it deserves. Disagreeable mumbling by more than one not-ready-for-work sleeper is heard. The sunlight sneaking between the blinds into the bedroom window doesn’t bring the delight of a new day it brings the burden of another day to endure.

The sun doesn’t seem to warm the morning air with hope but lights it up with anticipatory anxiety. Problems are waiting for us. Stress of different shapes and sizes line the halls of the schools our children attend, the streets we drive down, the rows of offices in our buildings and we don’t have solutions.

Even if old problems are left in the past, new problems seem to always be just ahead. We don’t always benefit from thinking about getting ahead because sometimes we can only get through. A sea of daily stress with endless days of rowing can feel unrewarding and unmanageable. But are all the moments in a day made up of problems, pain, stress and frustration?

What if we could give each other a moment away from feeling our problems? I know you’ve heard of Random Acts of Kindness (which work well) but have you considered making those into small acts of compassion/ kindness you can do throughout the day? By looking for the opportunity to show compassion in small ways during the day you give yourself a break from feeling your own stress and co-create a stress relieving moment with others.

SACK someone’s stress by showing grace, interest, empathy and/or patience in a moment of need and you get a day filled with more meaningful moments. Look for the moments where you can show a little compassion. Monday through Friday will feel lighter because you are lifting instead of leaning away.

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault, Eds, LPC

Dawna Daigneault Ed.S., LPC.

Better By Monday is a blog about one thing you can do, over the weekend, to feel a little better by Monday.

Zest of Life, LLC. Professional Counseling.