On Compassion

By: Emily Eileen Moreshead and Erin Rose Hennessy

“Be kind. Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”

These words ring true, especially in times of stress and anxiety. Inner turnoil does a lot of things – it can change a person’s mood, a person’s feelings, a person’s actions. Instead of holding them to a fault because of it, this quote asks us to use compassion and be kind to everyone.

While it may be difficult to practice as often as we should, it is beneficial to both the self and others if we take the time before we speak, before we act, and recognize how what we do affects others. For example, as much as we try to stay positive on a Monday morning, it is much more difficult than say, waking up on a Saturday morning. While we can understand THAT it takes much longer to see that in others. But we often do, brushing past the sad face we see at the train station, or the angry scowl at the coffee shop.

Have you ever encountered anyone who seems to be purposefully trying to make your life more difficult? Odds are, they aren’t. Human beings are very much trapped in their own personal worlds, and for the most part are just trying to get through their own days. They aren’t trying to ruin your day. Quite frankly, they probably aren’t even thinking about you at all. But if we can step outside that box of thinking “This person is crazy and they’re just trying to ruin my day,” and think instead, “They must be having a hard time right now. Maybe I should see what I can do to help?” Or if you’re not feeling that generous or you had a crappy day yourself, just don’t say anything at all. Just walk away.

Given the media obsessed world we live in, we tend to further our false beliefs that the ‘world is watching us’ but when do we get the message to check in with ourselves? We need to be introspective more and use our own feelings to understand the needs of others. It takes more effort than blaming but it is better for us! Our moods will thank us, our body will thank us. When we check in with ourselves without distractions, we learn to project our humanity on others instead of our self-absorbed anger. We are much more alike than different and when we start to really think of what makes us similar, our differences among each other become strengths.

We learn more every day even as adults and the very act of compassionate care is one of the most valuable lessons we can learn.

Not just compassion for others, but also ourselves. When we care for ourselves, we are able to care more for others.

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