“To speak ill of anyone is to speak ill of yourself.” – Afghan proverb
Her voice sounded harsh, an abrupt contrast to subtle smiles in the children’s eyes, their faces, the color of pennies and cinnamon were filled with naive wonder. I thought of my own young daughter, and waved hello, but felt her stiffen, moving further away.
I watched her patience quickly lessen with each of their attempts at closeness. I wondered how someone could eschew such innocent affection. I dismissed her, and turned my attention back towards waiting for the bus and heading to work. I forgot the incident until weeks later when I watched The Price of The Ticket , a documentary about my favorite writer James Baldwin.
He spoke candidly of a childhood marked by his stepfather’s bitterness and stern manner not with anger, but compassion for that man’s own struggles – poverty and suffocating stubbornness. Again I thought of this young mother on the bus stop, and how easily I judged her, how quickly we all judge in various moments, without reflection and compassion. What do any of us know of someone else’s life, but what we assume?
Social media and the Internet make this particularly effortless; comments on websites are sometimes shared anonymously, there is little regard for others feelings. We hurl criticisms blindly, mostly because of the fear to face our own inadequacies and insecurities.
Compassion requires looking deeply, embracing vulnerability and love. Many of us struggle with this in one way or the other. Yet if we are ever to begin judging less, the first step is committing to seeing others not as separate from you, but as a part of you.
How can you be more compassionate in everyday life?
Live In Color – Emelda
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