What kind of thoughts come to mind when you hear that a person is being compassionate? What’s your opinion of that person? Do you think they’re brave, or strong kind of person? Or do you think of them as being weak, or soft? Or, maybe you don’t have an opinion at all.
What I can tell you from personal experience is that being a compassionate person is not easy and that sometimes it can take quite a bit of strength to demonstrate. So why do it? Because the feeling that comes after helping a person in need, or calming a troubled mind can be pretty powerful.
Since I was young, I had always been a person others would confide in. Invited, or not, I can remember listening to the problems of others as far back as I can remember. I could not tell you why that was, but my life has always kind of been that way. Maybe I just put off a vibe, or something.
Anyway, I learned pretty early that everyone has problems, and there is no such thing as a perfect situation for anyone. I was no exception, of course. Divorced parents, the problems that come from growing up in a blended family, and other topics not worth sharing at this time, have all expanded my scope for compassion and the issues people experience.
For me, the capacity for being a compassionate human being boils down to just a few things. First, to acknowledge that any and all people have the same feelings and experiences as it relates to family, friends, and self-identity. Next, although it may not make sense for some of us, we all desire companionship, or to belong to a group. Be it with just one other person, or a group of people. And, everyone makes mistakes, and no one wants their mistakes to define who they are as a person.
One important point about exercising compassion is this. It has its limits. Some of us, myself included, desire to help people so intently, that we can become blinded to the fact that we are being taken advantage of. It’s an ugly truth, but there are some people in the world who either do not want to be helped or cannot be helped by us, the regular folks. They are beyond our experience, and more than likely require the attention of a professional.
It is unfortunate, but what seems to be true here, is that if a line is not drawn for the amount of help you provide any one person, especially for those who might be dealing with issues of abuse (substance, or relationship), “helping” could turn into “enabling.” That is the moment when being compassionate can hinder more than help. So, be mindful of when limits are reached, and be ready to let go, and hopefully find better help for, those who are beyond your abilities.
As a follower of the Christian faith, the bible teaches me, “each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” And that’s what I’m trying to do.
However, what I tell you now is this, whether you be a follower of Christ, or not, to be compassionate, is to be human. Withhold judgment. Especially judgments based on appearances, speech, or individual beliefs and still provide that person help. In my opinion, this is exactly the type of behaviors we should be promoting. Not only for moral reasons, but because it just feels good.
Being compassionate does not make a person weak and taking time to help others is not foolish. There is strength in the ability at looking at a person, any person (regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender, or sexual preference), and seeing them for what they are. A person. Just another human being looking for some peace and happiness in a tough and turbulent world.
Some of those people had tough starts, or have hit a wall in their respective lives, and need some guidance, or a hand up. Why not be the one who provides that direction, or assistance. Why not help your fellow man, or woman? Why not? Compassion. Try it, you might like it?