Monday, November 29, 2010

good deeds ~ charter for compassion!

last week i talked about a more practical form of giving back. this week, however, i'm going to suggest we all take part in something that is far more impacting than just giving an hour of our time.

the organization is charter for compassion, a worldwide community that bridges all religions, political affiliations, ethnicities, and cultures in the powerful commitment to spread compassion to all people, no matter who they are, both publicly and privately.

to take part in this world-changing movement, means being absolutely committed to treating all others with love, respect, and compassion. and by "all others" i do mean no matter what your differences, no matter what the situation, and no matter how these "others" are acting towards you.

it's easy to be compassionate towards the older man who needs help opening a big door, or the mom taking her time at the bank because she has three small children in tow. but what about the office gossiper? or the people who feel passionate about the opposite things you are passionate about {pro-life vs. pro-choice, republicans vs. democrats, no on prop 8 vs. yes on prop 8, to name a few big ones}?

now let me be clear, i am NOT suggesting that we give up on setting boundaries, standing up to social injustice, or protecting ourselves from being push-overs. taking advantage of the system, living with prejudice, or cheating through life at the expense of others is wrong. but what i am suggesting is that we all take a radical new approach to dealing with every single person we come into contact with, to choose to react with respect even if we think the other person doesn't deserve it, to be empathetic and understanding about where that person may be coming from.

it is my personal belief that every single one of us human beings makes mistakes and also deserves to be treated with love. believe me, i know how hard it is be patient and empathetic with those who act like jerks or who i feel are completely mislead in their beliefs. but if i've learned anything as a therapist, it's that people only act badly or stubbornly because they have deep wounds themselves. the only way to encourage unhappy people to behave lovingly, is to present them with unconditional love.

so what i propose is, next time you are faced with someone who makes you feel outraged, frustrated, annoyed, or infuriated, take it not as a sign that someone has done you wrong, but a sign that someone is in desperate need of your compassion. accept the fact that there really isn't a whole lot of difference between that person and you on a bad day. because really, on your worst days, what would make things better - a stranger who's frowning, fuming and rolling their eyes at you, or a stranger who offers a smile, a kind word, and a helpful hand?

now this is hard stuff to commit to, but the world is only going to get better with the hard work of each one of us. be the change in the world, be the change in humanity, and help spread compassion to every one!

you can read the beautiful charter here and join me in adding your name to commit to the revolutionary act of offering compassion throughout your daily life here.