Defending Compassion

I was thinking a lot today about fighting and defending. It’s amazing what a big chunk of my life has been taken up by it.

If there is something I have a huge amount of past experience in, it’s fighting in an argument. To date, I can count on one hand the number of times the fight made a big difference in my life or got something across I needed to have happen. There are many who will say a fight is sometimes what it comes down to. Some will say when all else fails in a discussion, fighting is all you have left. The fight for justice is the most common thing and we all tend to take it off the world stage and look for justice right across the kitchen table.

My understanding is that louder words don’t mean better words, they are just for dramatic effect. It’s when you are really trying to punctuate what you are saying. I grew up knowing what fighting was all about whether it was just sibling rivalry or listening to extended family go at it. I hate fights, they build up this revolting stomach acid which left me feeling worse than a hang-over. Puffy eyes, heart palpitations, grinded-down teeth, they basically just suck.

I think there may be situations where one good fight ends all the fights, but historically, most arguments are a repeat or at least an extension of a previous unresolved fight. Once you have been involved in one, it’s very easy to use that as your main form of communication. Parents who yell at their children will continue to yell because the child has become desensitized to it. They fear they won’t be taken seriously. Then we are all just merely surviving and how dull is that?

In my last few years, I have had the distinct pleasure of being around people who don’t engage in arguing and don’t see the benefit in it. They have taught me some really magical skills to never have to go there. It’s a very, intimidating word called; COMMUNICATION.

I think the art of communication is getting worse. Simply saying things like "I think" or "I feel" in front of our thoughts is better than, "You do this" or "you always…" Them’s fightin’ words! But since I have learned to be a better communicator, I have had fewer fights with people.

The thing I am learning on my own is the one factor which is helping not only the other person but my own character; putting someone else’s feelings not necessarily above my own (sometimes), but placing them on a level on human respect. It would seem every person out there has had their heart broken or shattered and the funny part is, they will almost never tell you that in a fight. Putting on a game face can be more critical to people than being vulnerable with one’s emotions. So, what I do is (assuming they are human with a heart) try my very best to talk to people who are hot-headed as though they are sad instead. When I interpret anger as sadness, I find it a bit easier to deal with it. This doesn’t mean they are indeed sad, it just means I view them as someone who needs my attention whether that is my ear, a hug etc.

The other thing I am trying very hard to do is apologize for poor communication over apologizing for my point. You see, I am not a liar so in most cases, I really do mean what I say to someone unless it escalates into ridiculousness. My point is that if I apologize for the way I am saying something; both parties can start to become aware of how points are being made.

If one was to say, "Take your boots off at the front door!" Is it at all possible to take a few extra minutes to say it differently? I think repetitive action by the person annoying us can mean so many other things. So yelling that same sentence louder or turning it into a personal attack against us is not going to make that person take their boots off. The one thing that seems to have worked for me is getting to the root. Is this person in a hurry to grab the car keys, so taking off the boots was not a choice? Could I have jumped in to notice they are overwhelmed with work?

I naturally like to break everything I see down to the root but I also notice people fight over things that really don’t matter. As annoying as it may be to see your newly waxed floor be tramped with mucky boots, may I humble ask, "Who really cares?" The term "Pick your battles" comes to mind. My Mother would only yell at me when a car was coming because then the tone of her voice actually meant something.

My sadness is that I have seen, heard and been in too many fights to date and it’s chopping away our days and our souls.

I think we truly need to start cutting each other some slack. Those of us who live in parts of the world without war shouldn’t be inviting it into our homes. The basis of society’s peace is in our homes. I believe how we get along at home is the foundation for how we go out and interact with others. Peace in the home is absolutely attainable. If this means we should take courses in communication or seek counseling to do it, I think it’s a good investment.

The other intimidating word is; COMPASSION. I heard the Dalai Lama talking recently about the world needing compassion more than anything else. I believe it begins with GIVING and SHOWING compassion. I think unfortunately, we are too busy looking for it from others. If it’s true the world needs it, who’s going to be the one to give it? And who will be the one to implement it in our relationships? Who will defend compassion? Our energy might be better served defending that….making it the priority instead of an afterthought.

MUCH love on ya,
Karen :)

I liked all of these; read as many as you feel like or have time for. ;)

"All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives…If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." ~Dalai Lama

"And as I've gotten older, I've had more of a tendency to look for people who live by kindness, tolerance, compassion, a gentler way of looking at things." ~Martin Scorsese

"Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves." ~Mason Cooley

"Competition is such a virtue, and everybody's so busy competing, they have no time for compassion." Major Owens

"Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little." ~Buddha

"Human it is to have compassion on the unhappy." ~Giovanni Boccaccio

"I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures." ~Lao Tzu

"Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty." ~Albert Einstein


  1. You and I became friends on myspace, January 2,2010 and on January 15,2010 I posted a blog there, which I titled 'Be Passionate about Compassion'...This was the last line of that blog...~All living creatures have needs, and among those needs there is the need of kindness, and a need to know that we are both cared about, and cared for... so what ever you are passionate about, just do it with compassion.~ There really are no accidents, or coincidences, in this world are there my friend? Everything is beautifully and cosmically orchestrated. Thank You Karen Stever, for your friendship. Love to you, notbandedorbranded/Debbie