Compassion

Compassion is one of the biggest gifts my parents bequeathed me as a child. I can’t ever remember receiving a lecture about the virtues of compassion. Instead, it was displayed through actions. If you google the dictionary for compassion, it almost gives a tone of one having the ability to feel ‘pity’ for another. “Concern for the suffering of others” or something of that nature… I don’t think this fully embodies the concept behind compassion.

I believe compassion is the ability to step outside (or inside) of yourself, and see the circumstances of another, while being able to reach in and connect with them through love. Love has to fuel compassion. Hate will never understand or be able to justify the act.

Recently, I had dinner with somebody who I identify with a lot. As I know this person is going through the backbreaking process of starting their own business, and was in a current state of financial difficulty, I let them know at the start of the meal that everything was covered. The body language changed immediately. Few things are as uncomfortable as the painful dichotomy of enjoying a good meal, mixed with the gut-wrenching feeling of wondering whether or not the side you ordered is going to put your account in overdraft.

Some might advice to simply not step foot in the restaurant. I disagree.

Speaking from a position of transparency, there was a point in my life where I couldn’t afford to put groceries in my fridge, which sat empty (void of condiments) for longer than I’d like to share. I remember being asked if there was anything they could do to help. To which I politely refused. A second offer for help, and I reluctantly asked them to order me a pizza. I knew it’d be the fastest thing to arrive at my home, and it also happens to be one of my favorite foods.

“Ok, but next time I’m ordering you peanut butter.”

Those words etched something in me that I can remember to this very day. It was a mix of hurt, confusion, and distance.

There’s nothing logical about empathy and compassion. In fact, there are few logical things about acts of love and – if I may say so – love, itself. Selfishness, in a darwinian sense, is the most ‘efficient’ way to live your life; looking after nobody but your own interest.

Sometimes our mistakes are enough of a punishment, as they are, without requiring additional words of discipline or judgement. The period of not having groceries? It occurred after the point in my life where I made a six-figure income stream within my own business. Everybody makes mistakes and sometimes the future can be an unknown and scary place, especially when we intentionally move from our comfort zones into realms that challenge us.

I lost my temper for the last time in Dallas, TX, nearly four years ago. I’ve had moments in my life where it feels as if I’m not the one speaking. Often, this happens during public speaking engagements to students and youth. Teaching, instructing, challenging, and inspiring. Those are the moments in which I feel most alive. Temper is the complete opposite of this circumstance; where you choose to reach a point of emotion where anything that comes out of your mouth is somehow justifiable – in that moment.

Anger and peace are two very opposite energies. Quick-tempered people are often “idling on angry” all day long. Don’t believe me? Watch them drive.

Anger is also like an infection. When somebody brings it into a conversation, it’s very easy to watch the ‘angry idle’ of those they’re speaking to begin to rev.

The most hurtful part of somebody losing their temper is the undertone of their words/actions. Their energy says “I hate you.” with every word they spew.

It says “I hate you” because in a moment of rage, the person has no regard for what they’re saying, who they’re hurting, or what damage they’re causing with their words.

It says “I hate you” because they don’t care who else can hear, or be disturbed, by their fit of range.

It says “I hate you” because it tends to forever imprison the victim of rage to walk on eggshells and tiptoe around the raging person, for fear of setting them off; limiting the other person the ability to be open, honest, and ‘in the moment’ during conversations, as they’re constantly on high alert.

This isn’t who I want to be. Ever.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we need the support and community of those around us. No man is an island at birth. We’re inherently brought into this world with the helplessness of a young baby; dependent upon the nurturing and care of our mother, who birthed us out of an action of love and selflessness.

Featured Image From Deviantart

I thought I saw the devil, this morning
Looking in the mirror, drop of rum on my tongue
With the warning to help me see myself clearer
I never meant to start a fire,
I never meant to make you bleed,
I’ll be a better man today

I’ll be good, I’ll be good
And I’ll love the world, like I should
Yeah, I’ll be good, I’ll be good
For all of the times that I never could.

My past has tasted bitter for years now,
So I wield an iron fist
Grace is just weakness
Or so I’ve been told.
I’ve been cold, I’ve been merciless
But the blood on my hands scares me to death
Maybe I’m waking up today

I’ll be good, I’ll be good
And I’ll love the world, like I should
I’ll be good, I’ll be good
I’ll be good, I’ll be good
For all of the light that I shut out
For all of the innocent things that I’ve doubt
For all of the bruises that I’ve caused and the tears
For all of the things that I’ve done all these years
Yeah, for all of the sparks that I’ve stomped out
For all of the perfect things that I doubt

I’ll be good, I’ll be good
And I’ll love the world, like I should
Yeah, I’ll be good, I’ll be good
For all of the times I never could.

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