What Compassion Means To Me

A while ago I read an article that claimed that we’ll regularly discuss moral values, but when we actually come across a person in need we won’t act upon them. These words have re-entered my mind on several occasions. It’s easier to discuss right and wrong in theory than it is to put into practice because life isn’t that black and white. When we introduce emotions into the mix we’ll often struggle to practice what we preach. In many cases we’re influenced by self-preservation; I’ve had my trust misused on a number of occasions and that can cause you to become wary of giving so much of yourself. It’s a shame that a trusting nature can be turned so easily against someone, and upon realizing the truth it can fill you with shame. There are so many scams using people’s good nature against them that it can be difficult to know which cases are genuine. I don’t feel comfortable being approached in the street for that reason, because the doubt about my own safety will come into play. I then feel guilty for not being more helpful.

Different moral values can clash, but can all be equally valid from our own stand point. It’s fun to discuss different scenarios and we can learn a lot from each other, but real life is rarely so simple. Our values might come about through how we wish to be treated ourselves; If we’ve had a tough life then holding onto them can bring comfort, even if we’re not always able to uphold them. For example, I am very anti-bullying because of what I went through at school. For a long time this seemed like an obvious stance to take, but then some would oppose my views by seeing things from the perspective of the bullies, like perhaps they’re having difficulty at home and are lashing out as a result. This can feel like adding further insult to injury, but I do understand that sometimes victims can become abusive themselves. Many will also feel regret afterwards. It’s challenging to accept hearing the other side when their behaviour has left such a negative impact on my own life. Sometimes we say things because we’re angry, but it doesn’t always correspond to what we actually believe.

I’ve since come to believe that to be a compassionate person we need to be able to understand why a person has acted a certain way even if we don’t agree with it. To be compassionate isn’t to tell people how to behave. If we take a moral high ground on someone then we can’t truly empathise with them because we’re putting ourselves above them. I’ve learnt that it’s better not to be too rigid in my values so that I can act flexibly within each situation that comes. If we never intend to cause harm then we’ll probably make the best choice we can in the moment. We all make mistakes too, but that doesn’t make us bad people. It’s easy with hindsight to consider how we should act, but when emotions are running high we don’t always think clearly. As such I think it takes a lot of strength to be able to act with compassion on all occasions. When we’re surrounded by a lot of negativity we can lose faith, but if we try to understand the world from other perspectives we might find that most people are well intentioned and just want to live a happy life like we do.


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About wallcat

I have a strong passion for computing. In particular programming for which I am able to use a variety of languages including C++, Visual C#, Blitz Basic, Actionscript 2.0, Python and Lua. I also enjoy web-design and have some knowledge of HTML/CSS, PHP/SQL and Javascript. As well as programming I have a strong background in art and enjoy drawing in my spare time. When I’m not sat at my computer I like to keep fit by going to the gym or using my exercise ball.

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