We’re all born with the propensity for compassion and empathy, the ability to understand and relate to where another person’s coming from, to “feel” their pain and to support them through tough times. But, as we get older and “wiser”, we move into a place where we don’t always use the compassion we have. When was the last time you saw a parent in a store with a noisy child and thought “If I were his mom, I’d handle that much better than she is” or in a restaurant watching a couple fight and thought “That is so embarrassing. I would never do that”? Here’s an important life lesson: NEVER say NEVER.
Two words that I think we should eliminate from our vocabulary is NEVER and ALWAYS. It doesn’t apply to 99.999% of all life experiences. The moment you say “never”, you invite that “never” to come into your life and prove you wrong.
Ever hear the saying “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?” How true that is. Judgement never helped anyone. A major reason we go through life experiences (especially the life altering ones) is to learn how to be more compassionate. If you’ve ever been poor, you can relate to people going through the experience of not having the basics in life. If you have ever had your heart broken, you can better relate to someone going through a devastating breakup. If you’ve ever had difficulty getting pregnant, you can more easily connect to other women who are trying to conceive.
When you haven’t been down those roads, yes, you can empathize and yes you can be compassionate, but I’ve learned more about compassion through my life experiences than I ever could’ve learned without them. It’s a natural tendency to judge others, but when you go through something serious, it puts EVERYTHING in an entirely new prospective and the next time you come across someone in that situation, instead of saying “what they should’ve done”, you now say, “how can I help?” You encourage rather than criticize. You support rather than lecture.
Compassion is a learned skill. Take every experience and grow your level or compassion!