If nothing else, over the past 40 some days I have come to understand that there are some basic human needs that are not only not being met, I also have witnessed that many have no idea what they are or why they are so important.
I’ll share some of these things I’ve been realizing, on this edition of “Becoming Today”.
As I shared yesterday in “I’m Still Standing”, since early April my individual course took a route that kept me from Internet access and even electricity for much of the past six weeks. During this perceived detour, I can now say I was being led, to see first hand some of the issues many would like to remain invisible.
They either refuse to accept that these things actually occur or have decided it’s not their problem or concern so who cares.
Either way these are very disturbing behaviors I witnessed and am now here to testify to.
From the individuals who called police wanting me to be arrested for carrying a duffle bag into a restroom in a public park, to the overwhelmed police officers reassuring me I was doing nothing wrong, but there were absolutely no resources or programs available to help to the “pastor” of the multi-campus church who told me there was no way he could assist and no one would be able to because, “land here is too valuable to build something to help people”, there is a common theme in their responses.
This lacking element is something we’ve discussed numerous times and in fact around the globe it is the topic that has generated the most responses and interest since the launch of this project.
It is something I have described as an inalienable right for people, no matter where they are, where they come from and wherever they may be headed.
So now my question is are we lacking compassion or do many people have no idea what it is?
At first I was dealing with the thought of how do we get people to become more compassionate, but then I heard an interview that suggested most are holding false beliefs as to what compassion truly is.
I heard Brene Brown telling Norah O’Donnell about how research is realizing that many who believe they are practicing compassion are not. Instead they are offering pity.
In the future we’ll have to delve into that more, however at this moment I can tell you it’s a mixed bag.
While the vast majority of those I encountered were either oblivious or simply do not care, nine and half out of ten of those who attempted to offer an interest in what I was enduring fell into the pity group.
No suggestions, no empathy, just platitudes. Some examples of these conversations as I poured my heart out to strangers, often breaking down in tears, were comments including, “oh that’s tough”; “that’s rough” or “that must be hard” as they turned and walked away.
Those I believe that thought they were being compassionate would say things like “wish I could do something” and then turn their backs as they leave. Or “keep doing what you’re doing”, “good luck”, “don’t lose hope” or “hope things get better”.
Perhaps well intentioned, but in the moment, in the pain and through the tears these words did not inspire or uplift rather they just left me feeling even more alone and directionless.
I have never desired pity and never will. It does nothing, except for possibly making the person you’re giving it to feel even worse. I hope that’s not what those giving it are trying to accomplish.
Anyway, among the things I’m realizing is that we need to again spend some time discussing what compassion is and why we all deserve it.
Several decades ago, when I also encountered individuals who were having doors slammed in their faces as they sought help I found myself filled with the Spirit and lecturing a trio of pretentious, non-empathetic psychiatrists on how every person on this planet deserves to be treated at all times with compassion, dignity and respect, I realized how important it was they hear this message.
After my “sermon’ they simply got up and walked out of the room. Without saying a word. They just ran away. I knew I had struck a chord.
In their eyes you could see they knew what I was saying was correct, but none would admit to it nor were they apparently willing to change their behaviors.
To me it’s like the old song, still sung in many spiritual settings. “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with” ME!
So it is true about the issues we’ll delve into this week. Compassion begins with each and every individual.
Therefore we need to accept a common understanding of the principle.
Our shared definition of becoming compassionate involves a developing of skills, levels and achievement. It also makes compassion an active action. Something we must not only understand and accept, but must also decide to give and receive freely.
I ask you to choose to accept this understanding that I have developed:
“Becoming compassionate is accepting the conscious process of showing kindness and sharing empathy with others, so that we may then decide to assist all those we can.”
In sharing compassion we do show kindness and empathy towards others (and hopefully ourselves) though empathy is used to describe a whole range of emotions. The primary difference is empathy is when you can accept the emotions of another in a given situation, while compassion also includes the desire to take action to aid the individual.
A widely stated adage expresses,
“A single act of compassion can change a person’s life forever.”
Making it a very Becoming quality. Sharing compassion allows us to feel and assist. It motivates us to transform suffering, pain or injustice into healing, growth and change
Among those changes are empowering ourselves to be compassionate not only towards others but also adopting an overall principle of practicing compassion with ourselves.
No more being your own worst critic or beating yourself up for past mistakes. Definitely no pity parties.
To live an empowered, compassionate life you must open yourself fully to “Becoming”. Be purposeful in living for great expectations, realizations and continued growth.
Empowerment means that you are stronger, bolder, more secure. Better able to deal with those distractions, circumstances and moments of stress. Deciding to empower yourself allows for you to make superior decisions, including having the conscious determination to be “Becoming”. By that action you are committing to continue evolving to the next higher level.
Yes you will still encounter delays, obstacles and troubles. However, accepting the responsibility for your own compassionate empowerment, by focusing on who you are and where you want to be, allows for you to live a life that is truly authentic, more rewarding and of significance.
And if you encounter resistance, hold yourself with Grace.
Haters will always hate.
Gossips will run their mouths and the fearful will try to scare you.
Hold your head high, shoulders back and nurture yourself in your new empowered confidence and in who you are “Becoming Today”.
Compassion is one of those things that in order to receive we must also be giving freely. It is only in receiving compassion that one can truly understand it and make the decision to share it with others. So first you must focus on improving yourself “From Within”.
Then when you have acknowledged and are accepting the improved vision of who you are, then you can shift towards where you want to be. Open yourself up to new possibilities. Dreams do come true. Trust yourself, do what you love and love who you are while doing it.
Embrace your times of imperfection with grace and forgiveness and empower yourself to withhold self judgment and with compassion conquer any self limiting aspects.
You can begin this step of fostering compassion by practicing affirmations.
While daily affirmations are simple, positive statements which declare your specific goals as already behind achieved, they are very powerful tools. Tools of focus, strength and clarity.
To prepare for honest, compassionate living, you need to be practicing Self-Care.
Be actively involved in gentle, healing Self-Talk and be fully accepting of who you are and where your momentum is aimed. As you may know by now, I believe that momentum always needs to be both forward and upward!
Let go of all negative thoughts and release your subconscious to heal itself with new beliefs, foundations and visions which are positive and boldly declared as already taking place right here, right now
Therapists have found that using positive repetitions can reprogram thinking patterns and over time, those who affirm do begin to think and act differently.
I don’t know if this discussion involves a struggle you are sharing at the moment, however I do suspect it happens more often than we care to admit. T
Today I am recalling a sticky note I long had, with a reminder to inspire a solution. It read:
“Be kind to yourself.
Remember things will get better”.
And I’ll pray they are for you as well. Take some time, reflect, share what you can and recall that you are more than welcome to join us again tomorrow, for our next edition of “Becoming Today”.