I want to share with you two of my favorite sayings, instilled in me by my mother. “Compassion is Contagious” and “Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Among other mantras, these two sayings are how I try to live my life.
Compassion – the ability to understand and empathize with the pain of others.
It’s something we all need to work on. Terrible things happen when our compassion runs thin – we blame victims, we become selfish, we influence others to be less compassionate.
Compassion is admired BUT ALSO looked at as weakness. Why would we EVER discourage compassion? I once gave my winter gloves to a homeless woman sitting on a sidewalk, the response from the person I was with? “You’re going to freeze, stop giving away your clothes.” WHAT? I have another pair at home and I could totally stop to buy another pair. This woman needs warmth!
I’m sure you know the saying “A smile is contagious.” A simplified version of the previously stated compassion is contagious. Guess what, it is. Scientifically. It’s engrained in our brains! And we can strengthen it. Don’t believe me?
By simply treating others better and being a nice person, the people you come into contact with will in turn be more positive, nice and compassionate moving forward. If not but for a short amount of time.
You can test this yourself – go to a bakery, bank, cafe, wherever! The first time, approach people with a frown, the people you talk to will reciprocate. Next time, approach with a smile and sunny disposition. You will see an immediate return of kindness. And if not, keep that smile on your face, who knows what that person is going through, they may need your smile that day.
Can I ask one thing of you? Be nice to customer service reps. This is one thing that really gets my goat. I hear someone yelling angrily “I have called X number of times and YOU keep messing it up!” NO. THEY did not personally mess it up. And when you yell, they are less likely to want to help you. Imagine if you were on the other end of that call. How would you react?
Which leads me to my final point, a though I often have, that drives my acts of compassion “What if that were me?”
What if you were the lady sitting in 20 degree weather without gloves?
What if you were the man asking for 50 cents to get on a train?
What if you were the brand new barista that people keep getting frustrated with?
What if you were the mother of that screaming child who needed compassion and understanding, not rudeness, judgement or negativity?
And if you are not someone who believes in “what ifs” then just imagine yourself in that possition. How would you want a stranger to act towards you?
Oh and just for fun, check out Faith in Humanity Restored on Pinterest.