Compassion

Winston Salem, North Carolina
March 3, 2017 6:10am CST
Compassion: sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together witha desire to alleviate it. (Meriam-Webster) Most days when I scan through my Facebook feed and skim through new discussions here on MyLot I see at least a few posts proclaiming to the world that the writer has been treated unjustly. Sadly, I’ve done it myself. We want others to treat us with compassion, but we sometimes seem to be slow in extending the same courtesy ourselves. It is easy to see the world from our own point of view, but do we ever stop to consider the world through someone else’s eyes? That cashier that was brusque at in the grocery store? We complain that she was rude, but how do we know she didn’t just find out that her husband had lost his job or her mother had passed away? That idiot on the road who flew past in a no-passing zone? How do we know it wasn’t a young husband rushing his wife to the hospital as she was miscarrying their child? That waitress who seemed preoccupied and wasn’t there with the check when we finished our meal and were ready to leave? Do we know that she isn’t a struggling college student facing a major exam with sick children at home. It is easy to judge another person when we feel they have treated us unfairly; in the age of Facebook and Twitter it’s easy to announce to the world that someone has been unkind to us; it’s easy to look at any interaction and only see things from our point of view. I am guilty of judging others; I am guilty of not giving others the benefit of the doubt; I am guilty of not taking the time to stop and think. I think most of us share a desire to see things change for the better; I think most of us would like others to give us the benefit of the doubt; I think most of us appreciate kindness when everything seems to be crumbling around us. I suspect that the world would be a much more pleasant place if those of us who expect leniency, tolerance, and kindness FROM others would be a little more intentional in extending the same TO others.
43 people like this
39 responses
@JolietJake (37732)
3 Mar
I am a horrible person...the first thing that went through my head
7 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
3 Mar
Shame on you for having such a rude response to my discussion.
4 people like this
@JolietJake (37732)
3 Mar
@Platespinner Hey, at least I am honest about it
3 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
3 Mar
@JolietJake Very honest. That's what I like about you--you call it like you see it and (as long as people aren't knocking on your door in the wee hours) you tend to not write about how unfairly you are being treated (oh wait, I think you've grumbled a time or two about what time that adorable cat of yours wakes you up).
4 people like this
@Morleyhunt (15361)
• Canada
3 Mar
You said it very well. My post was going to ask about the other side of the story. Its that pat on the back for the "victim" of the perceived abuse and the vilifying of the supposed abuser that comes into question.
6 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
3 Mar
It seems that the people who are quickest to vilify others, are also the most vocal about how unfair it is that they aren't given the benefit of the doubt themselves. I've been there myself, but like to think that I've gotten past the worst of that tendency.
5 people like this
@Morleyhunt (15361)
• Canada
3 Mar
@Platespinner you said it so much nicer than I would have.
3 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
3 Mar
@Morleyhunt Sometimes I wonder if my attempts to address certain issues inoffensively has less impact than if I were to just spout off what I really think some days.
2 people like this
@CoralLevang (37054)
• United States
3 Mar
"...be a little more intentional in extending the same TO others." Never wiser and truer advice/words!
5 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
5 Mar
Unfortunately the words come much more easily than the action does!
2 people like this
@CoralLevang (37054)
• United States
5 Mar
@Platespinner ain't that the truth!
1 person likes this
• Midland, Michigan
8 Mar
Love this, Joanne, I'm glad I looked you up early. I say the same thing all the time as I work in a grocery store as a cashier, I've waitressed and worked in a hamburger joint. Not that I get bad news wile working. I hate it when people come tell me I'm not smiling enough when I'm dealing with a knee joint or calloused feet. I tell my husband similar things when he gets easily irritated at people. I do try to give the benefit of the doubt but I also find myself judging more than I should. I'll be suggesting this one.
4 people like this
@jaboUK (48783)
• United Kingdom
9 Mar
@MarshaMusselman Thanks for suggesting this Marsha - I'm in Spain at the moment so am not here so much, and may have missed it.
2 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
9 Mar
Thanks Marsha!
1 person likes this
• India
11 Mar
@jaboUK Another holiday. I didn't know. Have a good time.
2 people like this
@PatZAnthony (11721)
• Charlotte, North Carolina
3 Mar
We are all guilty of judging at one time or another. People do seem to be quick to feel they have been wronged. Are we becoming too sensitive? Kindness is never wasted and always returned.
4 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
5 Mar
Amen!
1 person likes this
• Midland, Michigan
9 Mar
Although it may not always be returned by the person you were kind to. But we must remember that it's still better to react kindly rather than reacting in kind. Doing it correctly will benefit us overall too.
2 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
15 Mar
@MarshaMusselman Absolutely!
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (91813)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Mar
Well written. We need to remember that others have troubles too and may be struggling to cope with their burdens.
4 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
3 Mar
Thank you, I think every one has days when the struggle. I keep hoping I'll get to a place in life where everything is easy peasy, invariably when I think I'm getting close everything seems to come unglued around the edges.
3 people like this
@tzwrites (3183)
• Romania
3 Mar
Well said. I am guilty of judging people quickly but it's so important to stop and think about our actions/thoughts.
4 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
3 Mar
Thank you. I'm trying to be less judgmental myself...but sometimes stopping to think things through from the other person's perspective is more effort than I have patience for. I'm trying....
2 people like this
@LadyDuck (112838)
• Switzerland
3 Mar
You are right I am guilty too. Sometimes I judge people not knowing what pushes them to be rude, disrespectful, irresponsible, I know that a few times there is a reason behind this.
3 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
3 Mar
I'm trying to put myself in the other person's shoes for a moment before I pass judgement. There are lots of people whose rudeness is ultimately inexcusable, but I figure it's not my job to try to figure out who those people are.
2 people like this
@LadyDuck (112838)
• Switzerland
4 Mar
@Platespinner Unfortunately too many people are rude only because they never learnt to treat people like they would like to be treated themselves.
2 people like this
@CoralLevang (37054)
• United States
5 Mar
@Platespinner I don't like the term, this is really always about hating the sin and loving the sinner. Whatever ideology there is there's always something it speaks to this very thing.
4 people like this
@fishtiger58 (29387)
• Momence, Illinois
3 Mar
I very much agree, sadly we are imperfect humans and so we err.
3 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
3 Mar
and err, and err, and err some more. Dang I wish I could be the perfect person my imagination tells me I should be .
3 people like this
@fishtiger58 (29387)
• Momence, Illinois
4 Mar
@Platespinner Wouldn't we all, I don't believe that's humanly possible, but I could be wrong.
2 people like this
3 Mar
I love this discussion and you have made an excellent point. I totally agree with you. I was very naive and proud when I was young, but now I have more sympathy. If I see smoke, I don't light a fire. If somebody is rude to me, I no longer am rude back. I try to justify, that maybe something else is going on inside someone's head. We don't really know if they had some rough times recently, financially or personally, if they had a bad childhood or parents who only tought them how to be mean, or if they are suffering from a medical condition, or they are under some medication (even birth control affects our behavior). We should put out the fire by giving kindness and respect, in the hopes that it will be contagious enough to receive the same kindness back.
3 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
3 Mar
I've been through enough to know that there is often a reason why people act they way they do. I appreciate when people are patient with me when I'm going through a rough stretch, I need to remember to extend the same kindness toward others.
1 person likes this
@LoriAMoore (8648)
• United States
3 Mar
I have trouble distinguishing compassion, empathy and sympathy sometimes.
2 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
3 Mar
The way I understand it, sympathy is too feel sorry for, empathy is to understand where a person is coming from, compassion adds an active desire to alleviate the suffering; or to do something, or say something that will help the other person.
2 people like this
• Midland, Michigan
9 Mar
Lori, and @Platespinner I don't know that it's possible to have compassion without first being either emphatic or sympathetic. Other than for those that have a giving nature, but I think they'd still need a bit of empathy or the other in order to desire to help that person out in the first place.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
9 Mar
@MarshaMusselman In my response to Lori I was trying to clarify that compassion is built on both sympathy and empathy, I guess I wasn't as clear as I should have been.
1 person likes this
@Juliaacv (20467)
• Canada
3 Mar
I always try my hardest to give people the benefit of the doubt, as I believe also, that the world would be a much better place if we exercised a little more empathy towards each other.
2 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
3 Mar
I try, but some days I fail. Miserably.
1 person likes this
@Juliaacv (20467)
• Canada
3 Mar
@Platespinner I have not seen that. I hope that you don't mind, but I did just make a reference to this discussion to another member in a comment. I found it to be an outstanding discussion and I think that we should all read it, at least once.
@GardenGerty (88743)
• Marion, Kansas
9 Mar
If we want to be a little more selfish in our kindness and compassion we should remember that we have less stress and better health when we practice calmness and a generous spirit. I will never, for instance, have a stroke because I am angry at that fool who just cut me off in traffic. I just let it be, and drive happily on my way and stay out of his way so whatever is so important can be achieved.
2 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
10 Mar
A wise approach. I learned long ago to not worry. If the problem is something I can change, I try to change it. If the problem is out of my control worrying won't fixt the situation it is only going to potentially cause me health problems.
@Lucky15 (33769)
• Philippines
4 Mar
we want change, we want peace but then we are forgetting something, to be more human, more kind
2 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
9 Mar
In order to see that change and to have that peace we need to be an active part of the solution.
1 person likes this
@UncleJoe (7709)
• Virginia Beach, Virginia
3 Mar
SEE? I told you I couldn't help it!
2 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
3 Mar
Are you suffering from PMS again?
1 person likes this
@Kandae11 (23344)
3 Mar
Well said.
2 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
3 Mar
Now if only I could consistently live according to that....
1 person likes this
• United States
24 May
i've come to believe that folks prefer 'likes 'n views' o'er showin' compassion. folks're quick to judge 'n controversy sells...jest ask the media.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
24 May
And too many people don't stop to consider that there is usually more to the story than is immediately evident.
1 person likes this
• United States
24 May
@Platespinner well 'f course! didn't'cha know the universe 'tis centered 'pon 'em? ugh, jest drives me madder'n a ticked rattler. those're typically the same folks though who wish others'd more thought'n compassion towards 'em. don't reckon they've heard 'f karma?
• United States
9 Mar
I think more of empathy to be addressed better and more consistently than just sympathy or compassion . . . BUT a good post anyway
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
10 Mar
As I understand the vocabulary involved: sympathy is too feel sorry for, empathy is to understand where a person is coming from and compassion adds an active desire to alleviate the suffering (to do something, or say something that will help the other person).
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Mar
@Platespinner yes you are correct yet I am still more concerned with exercising the empathic in all of us as both other emotional reactions stem from that one, as you eloquently put . . .
• United States
9 Mar
I agree. When someone I don't know does something, I try to give them the benefit that this person might be going through something. I don't always, but most of the time.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
10 Mar
It's hard to do sometimes, but if nothing else it's a good mental exercise to stop and consider what might be going on in their life that would cause them to behave in such a manner.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Mar
@Platespinner Yes, thanks for the reminder.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Mar
I understand your point. But, I also would point out that for the drive that passed you in a no passing zone, if it was a true emergency, they should use flashers and exhibit common sense for safety's sake. Also for people who are having a bad day and their whatever their life has handed them, it is still important not to be rude or inattentive to those they are serving. Everyone has moments in their lives that are troubling and can cause you to worry or be grumpy. But, we also need to know not to take it out on others. When I encounter someone who is clearly having a rough day, I will attempt to make them smile. Engage them in conversation to let them know that whatever they are experiencing will eventually go the wayside. I live by the motto "treat others as you would want to be treated."
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
10 Mar
I understand your point, but sometimes in a true emergency people tend to act without really thinking things all the way through. I was trying to gently point out that if we want the benefit of the doubt ourselves we should also be willing to extend it. I originally wrote this discussion in response to another user who was complaining about treatment they had received from another.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Mar
@Platespinner people are often too quick to complain and judge others. They should think before speaking.
1 person likes this