My guest today is a wonderful lady with bright eyes and a beautiful smile…oh and crazy gorgeous big hair. I asked Rosemond to write a few thoughts on compassion for me this month and her words are a testament of how naturally kind her heart is.
We hear the phrase fairly often in movies or on T.V., “Don’t you dare pity me!” I really have to think before I act with compassion because I fear making someone feel pitied.
Many years ago a woman, in a motorized cart at a grocery store, was having a hard time standing up to reach some cereal. I had just turned down the aisle as she was bracing herself to reach for the box that was still going to be 6 inches from her reach at best. I parked my cart next to her and walked over to grab the box for her.
“You just keep walking little lady I don’t need your help.”
I continued to get the cereal but instead of one box I grabbed two. I handed her one box and said, “I love this stuff too.” and smiled before I turned to walk away.
My heart nearly beat out of my chest from that encounter. I was embarrassed and most likely she was frustrated and ashamed.
That woman taught me that not everyone wants help even if they really do need it. Now, I do my best to make my compassion look less like help and more like a selfish act on my part. It has taken practice, patience, and experience to learn compassion; or rather, how to act on the compassion I feel.
Thank you Rosemond for sharing your thoughts.
A KIND WORD by Rosemond Cates
No one thinks about compassion much. It is just something you do, something you feel. You see someone without food, you share your food. You see someone who needs, you fulfill. That’s the way I’ve always felt about compassion. It has always been something I’ve done. A service. An act of love. Or sometimes even an obligation.
And while I think acting out of compassion is beautiful, it is seldom difficult. It typically doesn’t break the bank to give that guy on the corner a few bucks or something to eat. You drive away patting yourself on the back and thinking about how kind you are. You might not go bragging about yourself to others, but your chest swells a bit thinking about your good deeds. It’s human nature.
While giving compassion isn’t usually difficult, accepting compassion is devastatingly hard. In our humanness, we want to stand independently and to make our mark on this world. No one wants to rely on someone else’s kindness. And no one wants to be looked down upon, which is maybe the hardest part of accepting compassion—knowing that your helper knows you failed in some way. That fear of judgment follows us all around like a shadow. And for some of us standing in the direct light of the sun, that shadowy fear of failure and judgment causes us to shut down. We don’t share our needs. We don’t want to look vulnerable.
So, here’s the thing—we all have fears and we all have failures. We all have a need within us to help others. So the next time you are compelled to show compassion, know that it is much harder for the receiver than the giver. A kind word goes a long way. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never regretted a kind deed or a kind word.