I was having a conversation with some people as we were talking about compassion. Being sensitive, empathetic and understanding towards others. And the biggest controversy actually showed up as they talked about people they really can’t be compassionate towards:
- People they think can help themselves
- The poor in America when the poor in Africa have it much worse
- The people that came in second since they may have worked less hard than the people that came in first
- People of other political affiliations since they obviously are wrong on their whole life outlook
- People like them because it’s uncomfortable to see yourself as similar
- People unlike them because you don’t relate
When you judge who deserves compassion, you are judging without knowing the full story. Maybe it was a tough childhood, a hidden disease, unhelpful patterns they haven’t gotten over, or an emotional problem. We don’t always make the “right” choices. We all have stories, difficulties, issues and patterns. Everyone deserves compassion. You too.
Allow other’s imperfections and your own.
One of the biggest ways to show compassion to yourself and others is to listen. Even if you disapprove of or disagree with the person. Especially if you do.
Deep listening is a cornerstone of my coaching practice. I had someone recently talk on our phone call for a long time without breathing and she said, “Wow, I am just so not used to being listened to.” You can do this for the people around you. Put down the phone, the distractions so you can look into their eyes as if to say I see you. And listen.
Do this for yourself as well. Ask yourself questions like, “What do you need?” and “How are you feeling?” Write out your thoughts and feelings before bed or in the morning. Check in with yourself throughout the day. Listen to your mind, body and soul.
What does this have to do with simple living? Having a simpler life means more time for deeper connections with the people around you and with yourself. And this makes the world a better place for everyone.
Who needs your compassion today?