Compassion is not for the weak. Compassion can be one of the boldest and courageous acts you can take.
But don’t worry it comes naturally. Looking into the eyes of someone who is suffering we naturally empathize with the person. This is how we are wired, when we see another suffering we can feel it, and this empathy can motivate us to action.
But in our modern world, we are often removed from looking into someone’s eyes. Maybe they are just a homeless person is a sea of downtown people rushing to work. Maybe they are across the world, victims of a horrible war. Maybe they are in a group of people right there in the US that you fear or do not understand.
But you scream, “I can not help all these people!”
It’s ok. It’s true, you cannot help all of those people, but you can do two powerful courageous and amazing things to be a compassionate badass.
1) Show compassion to yourself.
No matter who you are, you are likely suffering from the past weeks events in the US. Even if you hold no prejudice, or you foster to resentment of unfair treatment, you can still be suffering because you are a witness to the horrible events that are playing out across the country, and being shown on TV and discussed on social media. It’s a whole mess of suffering.
Suffering is the great equalizer. We all feel it, regardless if it springs from something we did, or something life threw at us, or if we are just the observer of the suffering.
Take time to acknowledge that this hurts. Take time to speak to yourself kindly and supportively. You are a precious human being. You deserve love and kindness. Here are some words to help:
- This suffering hurts
- All people experience suffering
- May I be free from suffering
2) Make a compassionate act.
It can be really easy to make a compassionate act when we look into the eyes of a suffering person who is right in front of us. It’s natural for us to offer a hug, words of encouragement or help of some kind.
But today, we face a world where massive suffering is being brought to us everyday most intimately, but strangely removed from real human contact. It can be overwhelming and scary and depressing.
But we can make a difference. In fact, even if you just did #1, showing compassion to yourself, you have already made the world a better place. We know through research that people who are more compassionate towards themselves are better able to be compassionate to others.
But now it’s time to stretch your wings and get your badass badge of compassion. Make a compassionate act. This means, show some kindness or compassion to another human. It does not have to be difficult, any kindness and compassion you put out into the world literally makes it a better place, regardless of how small.
You may think this is silly, but it’s not. Making real change in the world begins in your heart and starts with small acts.
Maybe it’s time to tell your black friend that you think their life matters, and you want to be their ally. Maybe it’s time to send a thank you card to a police officer. Maybe it’s time to donate a blanket to a refugee shelter.
Compassion is acting with love towards someone who is suffering. It does not care about your politics. It does not care about guilt or blame. It does not care about your religion. It simply is acting with love towards another who is suffering.
Now go, be a compassionate badass.