Friday, February 20, 2015

#1000Speak: One Line To Sum Up Compassion

A month ago I was invited, along with over 1,000 other bloggers, to write on the subject of compassion on February 20. I've been thinking a lot about compassion since then: self compassion, compassion for others, compassion for our planet, compassion for those that suffer. The need for compassion is all around. I had a very long, heart felt essay going on compassion for moms. However, it wasn't something that really got to me. So I stopped thinking about compassion and how I have compassion.

One line sums up my view of compassion:

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you walk a mile in his shoes.

I never really understood compassion until I became a mom. I didn't like being judged every time my child misbehaved in public or receiving glares when my baby screamed. What I hated even more was people assuming they knew my life, my struggles, what I wanted or needed, and people second guessing my decisions as a parent. It was then that I fully understood compassion, how to fully show other's compassion, and most importantly to stop judging anyone and everyone.

 I adapt this one line to my every day life.

When a child is crying or upset, no matter how ridiculous it seems that they're crying over a dropped piece of broccoli, show compassion rather than anger. When a child cries because they stubbed their toe, identify with their pain and kiss their tears away. When a child is happy, share in his happiness. When I don't necessarily agree with someone's parenting choices, yet supporting them because I don't know what it's like to be in their shoes. When a fellow mom is having a rough day and I offer encouraging words or a story of my own to let her know I get it. When I see someone struggling, offering a simple smile, because sometimes that's all one needs. I teach my kids compassion everyday: the benefits of recycling our cans, bottles, and boxes. To help each other when they need help. To encourage each other when encouragement is needed. To use kind words. To love and care for our pets.

Whenever I feel myself becoming Judgey McJudgerson, I repeat this to myself: You never know how you would react, what you would do, what you would say, until you were in their shoes. Until you lived their life.

How do you show compassion? How do you receive compassion? What does compassion mean to you?