2020: Year of Compassion- Jillian Landers
In 2020, as a Santa Maria Community, we are focused on our Mercy value of Compassion. What does compassion mean and what stops us from being compassionate?
What is Compassion for self?
Have you ever suffered?
I bet you have and perhaps you are in pain right now?
How many people can truly say that they have never suffered?
Suffering is part of life, yet we all know it’s not easy. Life will invariable throw us curve balls. Couple that with human selfishness and greed and we have pain! We all know how it feels to be betrayed by a loved one, to lose a family member, or to see someone we love battle with an addiction or suffer a debilitating illness. It hurts!
I believe the best way to deal with pain is to lean into it, acknowledge it and own it. What then? The answer comes in helping others. This allows us to move from our own suffering to a position where we work to alleviate the suffering of another. In this way we begin to heal our own pain.
Why don’t we show Compassion for others?
Because we all know what pain is, shouldn’t we be more inclined to feel for the other and then be moved to lessen their pain? Yet, time and again, we have probably ignored the suffering of others or witnessed this behaviour in others. Why does this happen? Are people really that selfish and egocentric? Have people always been this way or is it a sign of the times? The answers to these questions may lie in the following possibilities.
1. People cover up a lot of their pain, so others are not always aware of their suffering.
2. Many of us have learnt to hide our pain so well and pretend that all is well; we actually believe that if we ignore our pain, and that of others, it will go away
3. We have a fear of being judged as weak and incapable of performing our daily tasks
4. Most of us don’t want others feeling sorry for us
5. We don’t want to burden our friends or family members with our pain. So, we suffer in silence and allow others to do the same.
Why do we ignore the pain of others, when we know how we feel when others show no understanding or empathy for our pain? It leads to feelings of disillusionment and hopelessness and may lead to negative mind-sets and affect wellbeing.
How do you respond to the suffering of others?
Most people consider themselves to be compassionate, and by all accounts they are. But, if you rated yourself on how compassionate you are, how would you fare?
- Are you moved by another’s suffering and so do something practical to assist?
- Do you put another’s needs ahead of your own?
- Do you listen?
- Do you feel another’s pain as if it were your own?
- Do you believe people must deal with their pain and get on with it, it’s part of life?
- Do you believe God helps those who help themselves?
- Do you want to help but tell yourself you are too busy?
- Do you hope someone else will help?
The Gospels give wonderful examples of how Jesus showed Compassion. These stories should guide us.
What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived, it is what difference we have made to the lives of others. We need to care for ourselves and for others. This is our Christian responsibility.
By showing concern for the suffering of others and enduring with them, we will not only heal our own pain but safeguard the wellbeing of others.