When I tried to write what compassion means to me, I had the hardest time. What amounts to a potential high school essay, I deleted and rewrote numerous time.
Maybe I didn’t say enough. Or I said too little.
I thought about telling you a story, but I couldn’t narrow down to a single event that would tell you what compassion looks like to me. (Strange, a storyteller not having a story to tell.)
I just have to tell you the best way I know how without a pretty polish or a spoon full of sugar.
To me, compassion is not pity or sympathy, which is just pity-light. It’s not a selfish act or emotion. It doesn’t involve somehow “proving” what a good person you are.
It’s the willingness to meet someone where he is. To not judge. To understand that you don’t get it.
You honestly don’t.
You may have had some similar situation happen. That’s entirely possible. Yet…
You don’t know everything he’s gone through. You don’t know what brought him to your door. His Truth is real. For this person, it’s a tangible thing he lives with.
He may not have handled the situation the way you would. He may have just dealt with it the best way he knew how, which maybe led to a negative outcome.
Don’t dismiss him because he made mistakes. Or his recovery is taking longer than yours. It matters. It happened. He’s a person.
People in general have a huge capacity to harm each other. We can be hurtful and thoughtless without meaning or with a fiery purpose. I know I’ve been too harsh. Sitting on my throne built on, “If you would just do xyz, you wouldn’t be like this.” and “How does anyone get into this situation?” Entirely too quick to judge.
This extends to my views of myself.
I’m such a mess. I’m a deeply flawed human being who consistently makes mistakes. I jump, misjudge the distance and fall short all too often. If we wore our inner scars on the outside, I would be a torn motley quilt of messily stitched patches, hurriedly sewn together with imprecision and decidedly lack of forethought.
I’m the embodiment of the bull in the China shop of life.
And that’s ok. Even as this imperfect patchwork, I have to recognize my value with my flaws. I must know myself, what I bring to this world and remember what I’ve overcome to get here. To not judge myself too harshly.
Before feeling that compassion for others, we must first give it to ourselves. Oh Ru Paul you were so right–
“If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”
We have a huge capacity to love. There’s no limit to that metaphorical human heart. It pulses with beauty and hope. You can see it in the way the quiet elegance of the tides ebb and flow, the twinkle in your Mom’s eye when you give her a surprise visit and the giggles of a child playing with his puppy. It’s everywhere.
By giving that compassion to ourselves and others, we can tap into that heart. Make it stronger.
I urge you to join this movement of #1000Speak. Shed light to your corner of the internet. Together, we’ll make it shine like a clear summer’s night sky. Beautiful.
If you’re wondering what #1000Speak is, check out this video we made:
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