Everyone is Deserving of Compassion

Compassion

Definition: sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.

“the victims should be treated with compassion”

synonyms: pity, sympathy, feeling, fellow feeling, empathy, understanding, care, concern, solicitude, solicitousness, sensitivity, tender-heartedness, soft-heartedness, warm-heartedness, warmth, love, brotherly love, tenderness, gentleness, mercy, mercifulness, leniency, lenience, tolerance, consideration, kindness, humanity, humaneness, kind-heartedness, charity, benevolence

This is the ethos that I see so many people in the United States walking away from, and it doesn’t just make me sad, it frightens me. If we are going to survive as a human race, it has to be a team effort, which means we have to actually want to work together. The only way to do that is to be in compassion.

We are all cells in the Body Divine. That means that we are all equal in value as human beings. When we judge someone, we dampen a little of our own humanity. When we decide that one group of people is less worthy than others, we dampen some of our own humanity. When we decide that someone is not worthy of compassion, we dampen our humanity. When we dampen our humanity enough, we live as animals, existing in a state of lack, snarling over the spoils.

Let me be clear about a few things:

  • There is a difference between judgment and discernment. Judgment means we have decided that something or someone is “good” or “bad”. Discernment means that we have determined that we do not choose to spend time with that person or do that action or patronize that business because their values do not match our or because it sets us up for abuse.
  • I can have compassion for someone without putting them above myself. I am emphasizing equal footing here.
  • Compassion doesn’t mean we don’t call out harmful behaviors. On the contrary, if we are acting as member of the same team, we are obligated to speak up when something isn’t in the best interests of the community. We can all use a little course correction now and then, some perhaps more than others. Compassion is a form of kindness, which I define as “the willingness to tell an uncomfortable truth in the moment, in order to prevent long term issues.” Telling someone they have broccoli in their teeth is a benign example of this.

  • Let your metric this week be compassion. At the end of each day, as yourself where you treated people as equals deserving of compassion, and where you fell short of the mark; if you missed an opportunity, how would you have done it differently? Remember that, in order for this to work, you also have to treat yourself with compassion. You are on equal footing with everyone else. If there is a situation in which you consistently, immediately go to judgment or taking it personally, and you don’t know how to do it differently (getting cut off in traffic, for example), consciously decide to interpret what it is in the best possible way (in the traffic example, decide they have to go to the bathroom). You can also try this meditation.

    I’ll say it again. We are all cells in the body Divine. We are all of equal value as human beings. We are each deserving of compassion.

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