Compassion is not sympathy or pity. The opposite of compassion is judgment, anger, hate, revenge.

Example – you’re driving behind someone and they don’t turn on their indicator before turning left and you have to break suddenly to avoid hitting them – oh, you could scream …………!  But before you scream, consider:  you don’t know what’s going on for them at the moment, perhaps they have the weight of the world on their minds and they’re just about coping.  I’m not saying that their action is acceptable but maybe if I was walking in their shoes, I’d forget to turn on my indicator too!

Think of someone you’re angry with – who perhaps have done you an injustice.   Again I’m not condoning their behaviour or saying it’s acceptable.  But step into their shoes for a moment and consider what they’re going through at the moment and what they’ve gone through during their lives and how those experiences have shaped their perceptions?  Does that help make some sense of their behaviour?

Now think about how you decided to feel your hurt?  What made you react that way?  How you are responding? Is that response helping resolve the situation?

When someone’s behaviour hurts or frightens us, our instinct is to get defensive, which could mean fighting back or hiding/avoiding.  But if we stopped for a moment and really looked at the two people involved (you and him/her), who they have become as a result of their life experiences so far, then maybe with some compassion and consequently, communication, forgiveness could be reached and the hurt let go.

Have you ever reminisced with your siblings about a particular event and you all have different perceptions and memories of the same experience!  (What is reality anyway?)  Our perception is what creates our reality.  As we experience an event, we make decisions about ourselves and those decisions become our beliefs and create our values and consequently impact our emotions.

So if someone did or said something to me and in my perception of reality, that hurt me, maybe in their perception of reality, they didn’t do anything inaccurate.  Can you see how important honest communication and compassion is?  With it we can solve anything.

Are you ever angry at yourself?  Perhaps you repeat a destructive behaviour that upsets you but you don’t seem to be able to stop it.  The next time you feel compelled do that behaviour, as opposed to judging yourself and being hard on you, ask yourself, what triggered the compulsion to do that behaviour?  What are you trying to avoid?  How come that behaviour feels like your only option?  Could you identify any alternative action that could help you cope better with that trigger?

When you approach a situation with compassion, you’ll find a solution.

Always be compassionate.  Give thanks for your learning and all that you achieved today.

Thérèse Hackett, Ciúnas, 086 819 3005


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