The sun rises and sets each day of the year – one year ends and another begins…
2020 was a tumultuous and catastrophic year for so many – but for some it was also a wonderful year filled with many positive experiences and happy times. Recently, we had a family discussion about this with different perspectives expressed depending on the point of focus and occurrences throughout the year. Some family members were deeply impacted in very sad or negative ways, while others had a simply great individual year. Sometimes it’s difficult to understand another’s perspective and even more difficult to respond in a sensitive, compassionate way when you feel just the opposite due to our own personal experiences.
So…what to do…how do we take a walk emotionally in another person’s shoes if we are not innately designed to do this? There is no easy answer – but maybe a starting point is to simply sit down and truly listen to their story and/or at least consider their viewpoint with an open mind. Consider that we have all walked different paths, have different life experiences that color our vision and observations and tilt our perception and thoughts accordingly. To better understand why someone feels the way they feel, or is compelled to view situations positively or negatively (or simply opposite of one’s own viewpoints), we first have to understand what brought them to this point in their existence and life overall. This is better explained as the ability to have empathy – or better yet cognitive empathy which allows one to have a more accurate understanding of how another person feels. (Lesley University: The Psychology of Emotional and Cognitive Empathy)
But what is the value in gaining this compassionate view and understanding? Isn’t it just better for everyone to “suck it up” and deal with the world as it is? Ummmm… Nope! We all have unique perspectives and differences rising from our own experiences. Some have been privileged to get a better start in this world while others – through no choice or fault of their own – have had a tougher journey. This is why compassion is so important. By gaining the ability to understand and empathize compassionately, we build bridges for the greater good – and ultimately make our world (the world) a better place for us all.
Note: There will always be some who through no fault or choice of their own do not have the capability for compassion and understanding – may be due to some form of neurotypical development or psychological impairment – and these too are ones that need our own compassion and understanding. This is a whole other dilemma!
My Challenge and Resolution for 2021: Accept people for who they are with the understanding that we are all unique. Just like a work of art with unique features or qualities – like your fingerprints are unique to you – accept that we each have different perspectives to be respected and understood. Forgive yourself for any self-perceived flaws or attributes…this is the first place to start and will help define your path for 2021. (Harvard Health Publishing, Srini Pillay, MD: Greater self-acceptance improves emotional well-being, May 16, 2016)
Kindness, Respect, Compassion and Consideration – all qualities within us – make the world a kinder, gentler place to co-exist! Add Forgiveness to this list – and we may all have a winning year for 2021.
The first step in any journey toward a milestone is the hardest – and the first step in this specific journey also begins with ourselves! By the way…sometimes you may step in a few mud puddles along the way…Make this journey more achievable by encouraging friends and family members to join you in this trek for 2021!
Cracks in our existence bring character to Life
Fissures scar and beautify the surface and are rife
Internally filled with Love, Understanding and Respect
Yielding Kindness to the World allows us to reflect
The inner beauty externally hidden from view
Bringing joy to so many, not just a chosen few.
Why do we focus on a flaw perceived
Not accept the mark’s unique beauty
As highlighting our inner weakness indeed
Over revealing compassion, respect and duty
For what defines us may divide us
And…what divides us may define us
In our moments of highest dread –
Instead of our times of glory and acceptance
Where we embrace equity, inclusion as more than just a thread
To build a kinder place – a gentler world – outside of our own head
Forgiveness of ourselves and others must take place instead
Despite masking perceptions with denial and inner bias…
Love and Respect heal the world with both Compassion and Kindness.
#BeKinderThanNecessary #CompassionMatters #Respect #ForgivenessFirst
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