Compassion is a hard thing to talk about without someone mentioning Jesus Christ or the Bible. So, I thought, as I’m coming to an end with this series, that I would offer the definition. According to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary –
Com*pas*sion (noun) : sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it
I don’t typically share my religious beliefs in my blog. They are mine and mine alone to share in private with whom I choose. And, as such, I respect your beliefs in the same way. So, I do not want to make this about religion or spiritual beliefs. You can do what you want with it.
For me, it is all about that definition above. I see distress in the world and I want to alleviate it.
I blame my parents. They named me Erin and Erin means “peace”. And it’s always been my job to keep the peace, to find common ground, to calm the storms. I don’t know how to do anything else.
To me finding compassion for oneself and showing compassion to those around us one-on-one is the only way I can see a path to heal what ails us all. It’s the old saying “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” How do we heal the world? One person at a time.
I can’t fight terrorist organizations, governments, federal policies, state laws, or whatever else is thrown at me day in and day out through the news and media sources. I can’t battle big money corporations or widespread ideologies.
All I can do, all anyone can do to make a difference is to show compassion for those around us. One person at a time, one soul at a time, one life at a time. And yet, part of compassion is realizing that sometimes we can’t relieve others’ distress. We can’t force it on anyone else. All we can do is offer, hold it out in our hands, and hope they accept.
Of course sometimes we have to change the way we offer it. Even if we have the best message, the most wonderful piece of advice, the most comfortable shoulder to cry on, or the biggest pot of money to offer, if we bash someone over the head with it, they will run away. The only sure way to show compassion is by getting to know the other person however that may happen. Sometimes it takes days or weeks … other times it takes years and years. That’s the “sympathetic consciousness” part of the definition.
Being compassionate, showing compassion for others, isn’t a short term goal or something we do once and forget it. It’s not like posting a meme or reblogging a political campaign ad.
Compassion is for life because once you find it, you’ll never let go.