March 25, 2017

Feeling Compassion: Everyone Is Someone’s Somebody

It is easy to get annoyed by others.  Finding compassion can feel like an impossible goal.

Sometimes we are most annoyed with ourselves and deal with shame; feeling worthless and unloveable, for every little thing we do or say throughout the day.  We are hardest on ourselves with our inner voice that judges and criticizes for every little thing that we do or even for things we had nothing to do with.  Having grown up with a shame-based reality makes it hard to love yourself.
Having compassion for self-means understanding that we are precious, and were born precious.  That we are perfectly imperfect human beings and all make mistakes as we learn about how to be The Best Person We Want To Be.  And that best person is the one that has compassion and forgives with understanding and love. Is someone who knows their poop stinks just like everyone else and knows their imperfections and loves and forgives anyway because they are precious.

If we don’t love ourselves and have compassion for our life choices and mistakes, it becomes hard to feel that for others.  Sometimes we project our own shame onto others and become as intolerant and harsh of others as we are with ourselves, sometimes harsher.

Every human has their own struggles.  You may not know where they’ve been or what has happened to them as you see them out in the world.  You see a homeless person begging for money and judge them for how they got there.  Battered women often are blamed for the abuse because they do not leave their abuser.  People of different races get stereotyped no matter who they really are.  Men have negative stories about all women being needy and demanding and controlling, women tell each other about how all men are selfish and cheat.

We may look down on others for their race, their religion, their political beliefs, their behaviors, their gender. Believing your life and choices are better than someone else’s puts you in a one-up position and puts up a wall of judgment that keeps you safe from others.  You might be “safe” but you will have trouble connecting with others and miss out on the joy of compassion and connection with another human being.

You know what?  Everyone is someone’s somebody.  Each person who seems like society’s throw-away came from a family of people who loved them.  Each homeless street person had a mother and a father and maybe some siblings.  They may even have had a family of their own.  People who loved them have lost them to addiction or mental health problems.  People somewhere are likely grieving the loss of them.

Aren’t we all human beings?  The differences are really just artificially determined by society.  Only we can change it.  Find compassion for yourself and then open your heart to others.