The last several days I’ve been thinking a lot about one my less-than-desirable qualities.
I’m not very good at showing compassion to others. In fact, I pretty much suck at it.
I have this rather ugly tendency to be judgmental toward others. And I’m generally pretty harsh in my assessments. Now, I know that this isn’t something that I’m alone in. In fairness, I believe that we live in a pretty judgmental society and I see and hear and read a whole lot of harsh assessments flying around a lot of the time.
But I really don’t want to justify my own lack of compassion by saying, “But everyone’s doing it!!” because frankly, that’s probably the lamest excuse out there. Particularly when I really think about it, one of the ways I really want to describe myself is as a non-judgmental person.
Pffft. Yeah, right. How I want to describe myself and how I’m realistically able to describe myself are two entirely different things. Particularly in this instance.
Last week I found my lack of compassion staring me in the face pretty hard. I can pinpoint certain people in my life that I am particularly judgmental and harsh toward, if no where else than in my own head. And you know when it’s in your head that it never just stays there and minds its own business — it spills out into your interactions with them. It’s just how these things work.
Which makes me kind of an asshole. To people who really don’t deserve it.
I know that this is a problem. My lack of compassion gets in the way of me having productive, healthy relationships, particularly with people that I have no choice but to interact with. It prevents me from being able to move throughout my own life with a certain amount of peace. It’s so easy and convenient to forget this one very important thing: everyone has their own stuff that they’re dealing with.
As a human race, we’re all pretty broken and vulnerable. All of us. And when those broken and vulnerable parts of ourselves come out to play, or even worse, when they clash with other people’s broken and vulnerable parts it causes issues. it is completely inevitable. When I stop to think about it, and when I practice my most compassionate thinking, I know that for the most part, most people are essentially good at their core. It’s just that their screwed-up-ness gets in the way of that. We’ve all got our own issues, our own broken parts, our own agendas. Most of the time these agendas aren’t about being harsh or cruel toward other people, it’s about protecting ourselves, or finding a way to function on this planet without our own crap interfering too much. Instead of judging other people harshly for their vulnerabilities, I need to remember this and cut them an appropriate amount of slack. Because underneath everything we see when we look at the people around us, there is way more going on than we can ever really know. Because we’re all pretty screwed up.
I know that this is one of the lessons that The Universe wants me to learn. This is one of the reasons why we’re all here on this crazy messed up planet, isn’t it? I make efforts, I try, but sooner or later I find myself fighting against compassion. Because it’s a whole lot easier to pass judgment than to show compassion, now isn’t it? Judgment is swift and certain, rigid and powerful. Compassion is soft, gentle and vulnerable. Showing compassion to others, to their most broken and vulnerable parts, puts us face to face with our own flawed brokenness. Something that I don’t particularly enjoy looking at very often. And quite honestly, can you blame me?
I know that this is something I need to work on right now — showing compassion and understanding to the people around me. Cutting them some slack. Remembering how broken we all are, underneath everything. I know that ultimately this will bring me greater peace and happiness, even if it feels mighty uncomfortable in the meantime. It won’t be easy, but on thing that life has taught me its that most things that are worth it require some effort.
Filed under: figuring stuff out, happiness, Lessons from The Universe, living and learning, screwed-up-ness, thoughts on stuff | Tagged: compassion, happiness, judgment, life, life lesson, relationships, vulnerability |