Compassion welcomes the suffering of the other person. One of the strongest movements I have felt against compassion in my own life has been a denial of suffering, especially of another person’s suffering. Don’t I have enough to deal with of my own? Don’t you have someone else to call? Can’t you just suck it up and move on?
I offer that confession, but I also want to affirm my desire to overcome such thoughts. I want to welcome your suffering, compassionately. Compassion welcomes you to come into my world and asks you to bring your battered, torn and hurting baggage with you.
Welcoming your suffering will mean affirming your suffering. Compassion doesn’t say, “Awww, you don’t have it so bad. You’re fine!” Compassion accepts that you’re hurting and validates the suffering. That doesn’t mean I will necessarily take your side in an argument with someone else. It doesn’t mean that I will agree 100% with your interpretation of how you got to this point; I will simply allow you to be hurting.
It’s similar to a few years ago when tweeting on civility; I offered the idea that civility will allow the other person to label themselves as they desire…
Oct. 11 ~ Allow the other to self-identify: Muslim, Christian, Atheist, Democrat, Republican, etc… #civility
Compassion allows a person to be suffering without a need to deny or even to quantify that suffering relative to someone else. Compassion will accept that a person is suffering and then desire to be a help to them move from that point of pain to a better place in life. It might be true that their suffering is relatively easy compared to certain other people in the world, but it probably feels second-to-none for them. So accept it. They hurt. Compassion welcomes that hurt.
I may not allows get it right in my responses, but I’m trying. I’m trying to hear you and let you be hurt with me. I may not allows understand everything you’re saying or quite get how you got here, but I’m going to listen and let you quantify the hurt. I may not always get you, but I got you.