Thursday, July 08, 2004

Practicing compassion in my everyday life

This is a skill I need to develop.

It’s very easy to have compassion for people who are obviously struggling, like the refugees in Darfur. I also generally manage to have a fairly charitable attitude toward others when I’m in a good mood.

I think it is important to go beyond that, though. I worry that sometimes I’m careless with other people, particularly the ones I’m closest to, because I get wrapped up in myself and forget to look at them carefully, to really listen. My friends and loved ones deserve my compassion.

Or even with strangers. Maybe the guy who wouldn’t let me merge in traffic wasn’t being a dick. Maybe he’s worried about losing his job, or his kid is sick or he’s just having a lousy day. I need to remember to think about that instead of getting irritated.

Then there’s when I’m the one in a bad mood. That’s when I really need to learn to step outside of myself and look at other people with compassion and understanding.

Because really, my life is pretty good. I have frustrations, and events that make me sad, and, of course, stuff about my life I’d like to change. But I have a husband and a dog who I love...a healthy family...wonderful friends...a good job...a roof over my head...plenty to eat...and I should be grateful.

If I can just keep that in mind.

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