How do we do this, find compassion in these times of insanity and chaos?
I was watching an interview with Stephen Colbert and writer George Saunders last week and the term “radical tenderness” was used to explain how compassion and understanding can be applied, even to those we strongly oppose. Is this possible?
I try to be compassionate and to write and share compassion, but my struggle is just as real, even as I write through my feelings.
I recently wrote about compassion, the other day was Pink Shirt Day, and bullying is real and damaging. I think name calling is unnecessary and immature, but we all do it. I struggle with the fact that I say name calling is wrong, and then I go and call someone something. The new U.S. leader is offensive to my every fibre. I don’t consider this name calling, but more like I’m simply speaking my truth. Whereas, I have vowed not to use his name on my blog, so I now call him 45 and that’s not so bad. It’s when I slip and swear under my breath at something he’s done that has made the news, because of course he has all that power now, power to command all that attention he craves. When I call him a foolish old man, then am I crossing the line into name calling? Is that compassion? Can I tap into my stores of radical tenderness?
This compassion thing isn’t easy. It’s the two year anniversary of
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion
this week and I am still sad how the original steam of the movement started here has declined so rapidly.
There is ugliness going on in the world right now, truly, but there is also immense beauty and wonder.
All that ugliness could be part of the reason so many don’t know what else to say about a topic like compassion, I get that, but I can’t stop speaking out about it. I can’t.
The children in our lives deserve the best world we can give them (and so I dedicate my two year anniversary post on compassion to my niece, Mya Lynne, and to all the children, constantly teaching me that compassion is worth it):
I look down into your face, your beautiful face, and I see only a blur wrapped in a blanket. There’s no getting around that. I wish I could see you, but you are real, really here. I hold you tight. You restore my faith, now that you’re with us, and I find new stores of compassion in me.
You are beauty and sweetness and all that is good and right with this world.
5 thoughts on “Radical Tenderness, #Compassion #1000Speak”
True words of compassion here. It’s important to remember the humanity involved even among humans with whom we do not agree. Name-calling aside. Orange-faced facist. *achem*
Yes. Quite so. Nicely put.
The best answer I can give is what I’ve been told, that we can learn to treat the doer with compassion and even God’s love, while hating the deed. While I may not approve of what someone is doing, and in this case I definitely don’t, I can’t abide the name calling and insults. I think it counter productive. We need to expend our energy on standing up for what is wrong and doing what we can to correct it, rather than spending it on personal attacks. In other words… address the issues that are deeply troubling us! It is easy to show compassion to the compassionate and love to the loving, it is much harder to do this with those who are neither of the above, but those may be the ones who need it the very most.
I just can’t help lately, with the birth of my niece just the other day, to remind myself that we were all sweet and innocent little babies once. No matter what we become, we all started out the same in that way. Helpful actions need to be taken when we don’t agree, more of those and less of the personal attacks so many seem stuck taking part in. It’s hard, but worth that fight. Thanks for your thoughts. I often do a lot of posing of questions. Rarely do I have these answers.
I love the sentiments in your post Kerry – and in your comment above. We were all innocent babies once, and I find it so sad that so many people aren’t given the love and support they need as children to grow up feeling compassionate and loving towards others and themselves. It’s taken me years to learn self-compassion and I still frequently catch myself name-calling – myself.
I honestly think that until we love even the aspects of ourselves we’re not so keen on, we will find it hard to love others. I’ve noticed many times that if I’m angry with myself, there’s a very strong urge to look outwards and blame someone else. (And only yesterday I came across an article about research that shows this to be the case.) So here’s my suggestion – if you notice yourself thinking unkind thoughts about you-know-who or anyone, love yourself anyway! (And I shall try to do the same! 🙂 )