A Guide to Compassionate Living

Learning the Importance of Loving Kindness

What’s going on with our planet, we seem to wonder? Personally, I feel that the source of all “evil” is the complete lack of understanding, compassion and self-awareness. Ego seems to run completely rampant in our great age of technology and science. Everyone is right and feels right as rain when spreading their “right opinions.” The constant need to defend one’s egotistical and selfish choices rules over common sense or over the ability to take a step back for someone else’s sake. It’s always about us; how we feel, how wronged we were, how much “right” we have to be angry, mean, selfish, passive aggressive and douchish. And why wouldn’t we? Don’t we assemble in groups of like-minded individuals? Alas, groups of those who justify and enable our own insanity and play by the same rules? Think of churches, religions and the Ku Klux Klan!

This planet is not necessarily stripped of reason or sanity, but of compassion, willingness to forgive and being the bigger person in the process of it. No, when someone feels wronged, we have to up them one, because somehow we feel that being the bigger person makes us weak or, god forbid, not right anymore! We are so wrapped up in our own stories of righteousness that we can’t even accept, and much less offer an apology. Because hey, if someone apologizes that means that they are truly to blame and doesn’t that make us right again and therefore gives us more reason to pounce on them; especially behind their backs?

Changing this planet and its crappy energy starts with you and me! It doesn’t start with our governments, or a religion or anything else for that matter. If we want a better place, we have to learn to be less greedy, less selfish and less willing to blame others and point fingers. Before you start judging right from wrong, try to walk a mile in another’s shoes.

It comes natural to me to follow a grid of right and wrong and black and white. I do fraud prevention for a living! I have worked with law in one form or another for most of my life and had absolutely no tools to examine the grey area. I would have made a great D.A., judge or private detective. And to some degree it’s true; I instinctively sense right from wrong. But it doesn’t mean I have to act on it! Because sometimes it simply doesn’t change a thing when one is right and it sure as hell doesn’t lend reason to being a jerk.

For instance, I’m in the grocery store. It’s been a long day; I’m tired and already annoyed about the lines. Next to me is a woman with three boys. Two are older and the youngest one is a baby, which is screaming at the top of his lungs. He is screaming so loud that it actually hurts my ears. I’m starting to get really annoyed now, shooting “death glares” to the baby, when I notice the mother. The mother is terribly embarrassed. She is trying to distract and quiet her baby and the two older boys are also trying to help, to no avail. She quietly apologizes for the noise, pays and flees the store. I stopped myself and thought about how I never ever considered how she might feel! I found myself smiling at the little, screaming thing and noticing how cute he is, even as he is turning bright red from screaming so much. My anger and annoyance are immediately gone.

Another example; I’m bombarded by someone’s rant about how crappy their life is and how bad they feel about themselves. How they can’t muster up any energy to do things, how they are feeling beaten down, can’t sleep, can’t work out and so on. I find myself getting increasingly more irritated as I am hoping for the person to shut up. After all, I hold it together when I don’t feel too hot and I do something about the things I don’t like. But instead of giving a disapproving look and starting to “lecture,” I find myself just listening and nodding, telling them “yes, I know how this feels. I’ve been there. Can I do anything to make you feel better or help?” I found that the person stopped in mid-track and thanked me; then finding more energy to keep doing what they were doing.

Each and every day, I find I am given the opportunity to do something for another. Being kind and having compassion does not make you weak and it doesn’t mean you have to turn into a doormat! It serves well to remember that some people are better loved from afar and by having little or no contact with them. We have the right to refuse access to our life from those who are harmful to our well-being or growth as a person.

Learning how to have compassion and how to forgive, and learning how to see the world through the eyes of another, even if just for a moment, will make the world a better place.

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7 thoughts on “A Guide to Compassionate Living

  1. misskrystal

    Great post, Carmen.
    Giving out “good” is always a great thing.
    When I am at the market, and I don’t have a major appointment, if I have more things in my basket vs. the person behind me, I always tell them, to go, “Ahead.” It makes me feel good! I have been doing this for a long time. And I do feel bad, when, I can’t and, I really do have a major appointment..

    Taking turns is also a good way to develop compassion, or more of it. Also, I try to steer clear of cliques–Trust me, it takes away from your sense of compassion, not to mention your true self.

    We will always see selfish people…I always remind myself, “This is not heaven.”
    But by reading this article, and making a difference, yourself, you set your soul free from dark clouds and toxic trapsl
    God Bless you all. Big huggies to you, Carmen.
    Miss Krystal

  2. Lena Novak

    Yes this is very true, just don’t forget that our kindness has to go further then to our fellow humans, is has to go all the way to all living creatures. Millions of animals are being killed and tortured and then ending up on our dinner tables everyday. Please think about this every time you’re shopping and choose animal free products.

    Thank you in the name of our fellow animals that can’t speak for themselves,



  3. Carmen Knopfette Honacker

    Ha, I am with you, Nena. I struggle with it, too, but it just won’t do me any good at all if I hold on to it, or worse, become like the rest of the population.

    I find that the inability to forgive and let go makes us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually sick and I didn’t want to be that 🙂

  4. Galina

    How true, Carmen! What a great article. Kindness and compassion is something that we definitely need to re-learn. Thank you!

  5. yasmin

    Oh absolutely! agreed! Accept for the religion bit,I find religion advocates just the qualities which you find so lacking in the majority of us mortals,Then again…only my opinion!

  6. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Hi Carmen,

    Loved this article …..

    I see less and less compassion nowadays…..but I’ve always believed that it’s better to give back than to always be ” on the take “.

    The act of forgiveness is very liberating….it’s just less negative energy to carry around on your shoulders.

  7. Nena

    I think those are really good observations, Carmen. I slowly but surely learned that holding in all that anger and grudge thinking that I’d be weak to let things go and forgive people. I thought I have to be strong and not let those turds get away with this! But boy did it take a HUGE toll on my health–physically, mentally and spiritually.

    When I was at a high school reunion, I ran into someone who did something completely horrid to me. It messed me up for several years. He was very remorseful and it tormented him for several years as well. I had to forgive and drop the hold on me to save my own life, and yeah, I guess to release the shackles from him because those shackles held both of us hostage.

    I still have moments of anger and resentment. I still have a hard time forgiving and letting go of crap that happened in elementary and middle school. Why is it easier to let go of things from high school but not elementary and middle school?


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