Compassion Got Lost in the Shuffle Again

As a mom, I do believe that a dose of tough love never hurts anyone. I want my daughters, after all, to be able to stand up for themselves and be able to take care of themselves without depending on anyone. But at the same time that I am trying to imbibe them with self-reliance and independence, I also try to open their eyes to the fact that we are all, ultimately, interconnected. That one little action on our part may impact others in ways that we may not even think of. Be mindful, I tell them. Be mindful of your self, of others and the world around you.

Realize that the world is not only that space within your reach and your sight. There are worlds and lives out there that you may never see or know about but somehow impact by your one little action.

COMPASSION. That’s what it’s called. It’s the one thing that gets easily lost in this race we’re all running. And it shouldn’t. Compassion for others should be a natural part of our being and if it doesn’t come naturally, it should be something that at least we should be mindful of.

I liked this definition of compassion on Psychology Today: “Compassion is defined as the emotional response when perceiving suffering and involves an authentic desire to help”. The key word there is the last part, “an authentic desire to help”. It’s easy to say, “oh, those poor people, I feel so sorry for them”. Compassion is when you ask yourself, “what can I do?”

With the ongoing government shutdown and congressional standoff, I can’t help but wonder if there is such a thing as compassion among those who are causing the government to a standstill. I do understand part of their argument about self sufficiency and taking care of yourself. I do understand that there are abuses to the system (in any system). But I also know that the very thing that they are preventing from being implemented is an urgently needed solution to many a prayers among those who are on the margin.


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