Monday, May 29, 2017

Compassion, friends & enemies

I've been reading and thinking a lot these days about the role of compassion in my life—and the concentric circles in which I want to express it, from self to family to friends to community to country and to the entire world, including those I see as enemies.

As I think about the incivility that seems to have worsened in these last years, I realize that I cannot simply point outward and complain about all the intolerance and anger around me. I need to look at my own role in this incivility and lack of compassion. And I do have a role! I confess that much of the appalling rhetoric I hear lately about women, rape, childbearing, reproductive health and more raises my anger level. This makes it difficult for me to feel compassion for those (mostly male but some female) who make pronouncements on such topics. Not only do I not feel compassion for them, but I have been known to say some pretty harsh and snarky things about them.

If I want to see more compassion in this world, I have to start with myself. And I wonder just how I am going to do that with those who most challenge my beliefs. It's a challenge, but it's one I want to tackle.

Perhaps I need to begin with self-compassion, for then my heart will open wider to all others. What do you think? What helps you in this endeavor?

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