Compassion. What is it? How does it manifest? Of what value is compassion?
According to this website: “Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” Among emotion researchers, it is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.”
Old time Merriam Webster’s definition of compassion is: “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it”
We get it. Compassion is about feeling. Feeling strongly enough to act. Let’s face it, we and the majority of folks in our day to day life are busy with, well….our day to day lives! Not saying this is a bad thing. It’s just that sometimes the “busy” in our lives blinds us. And before we know it an automatic reply starts forming: “I’m sorry, I can’t, I’m too busy today. Maybe tomorrow?”
As you can probably guess, I’m talking about the smaller acts of compassion. Don’t get me wrong! I’m not implying compassion can be rated or graded. As a person who believes in the “little things”, I believe that a singular, small gesture has the potential to impact a person on a huge scale. We don’t always recognize this. Especially, when we get “busy”.
My hope today is that the small gesture of over #1000 Voices posting about Compassion today might have a HUGE, cumulative effect. I’m imagining this act as gently shaking a vast community of folks across the globe into awareness. That it will remind us all to stop each day. Turn “busy” to off and look up, around, beside from where each of us stands. To make the effort, to take the time to breathe in awareness. The awarenes of what’s going on around us.
“Say what?! I do that.” Yeah, sure you do. Easy to turn on the TV and be “aware” of global conditions. Sure. Nothing wrong with that. Today, I’m talking about awareness of the seemingly little things right in front of our noses. Everyday. There is always opportunity for compassion. But let’s face it. We’re not always present. Life. Gets. Busy. With. Stuff. To do.
Why not begin with the smaller, little things? Open a door for an elderly person, speak to them kindly. Hell, speak to everyone kindly. Listen, actually listen to a child when they seem to want to talk about something difficult. Be aware, be present. Let’s think outside of our own selves. Try and imagine what it feels when/to: (so many examples!) and then imagine our own self and what we would want at that moment of vulnerability or inconvenience or trouble or desperation or lonliness.
Every small act, every little thing we do that is self less, that helps another in ways we may never know, has the potential to snowball into a massive, rippling wave of goodness. Yes, good and wonderful things very often come in small packages.
So what do you say? Let’s all become a little bit more aware of our selves and others. Let’s make the time, take the time and remember to act without reservation. It has the power to change lives.