The Tides of Compassion


You don’t have to spend more than five minutes online to see we’re doing a terrible job of understanding where other people are coming from.  In today’s extremely charged and polarized political climate, many people are unwilling to even consider someone else’s worldview as valid. And then we wonder why there’s so much anger.

I may not agree with how someone sees the world, but the fact that they are in it benefits me in ways I may never realize; it takes all of us to make the world go around. One of the big things I continue to practice endlessly is acceptance. Thankfully, life has no shortage of challenges to my professed accepting nature. I don’t like jellyfish or sharks, but I’m sure they provide a valuable service to the ocean, and I appreciate that (from a distance).

Maybe if I had more compassion for the idea that other people grow at different speeds than I do, and that everyone is in a different phase of life, I’d be less offended by the way things are. Perhaps if I could actually hear where someone else is coming from, and understand them, I could make a difference for them.

About three times a year I get a craving for a particular kind of cookie. The one with the creamy middle. It’s easy for me to get them because millions of people eat them regularly. Many of those people hold views I find to be terrible, but without them I wouldn’t be able to get my cookies so easily. That, to me, is one of the essences of compassion.

We’re all ebbing and flowing in our own tides. To me, a big part of compassion is accepting all those other people the way they are, warts and all. And I would hope they’d make an effort to treat me the same way. It makes it a lot easier for all of us to keep swimming together.

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