We are now in the 4th week of the October challenge to expand upon compassion. The following is from the Compassion It team:
So far, you've practiced mindfulness, you've cultivated compassion for your loved ones, and you've aimed compassion toward yourself. Now it's time to broaden that compassionate attitude and recognize that EVERYONE deserves your compassion and kindness.
You may be thinking, "Ummmm...everyone?"
Perhaps you're familiar with the quote, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle" (attributed to Philo).
That is the gist of common humanity. You recognize that all people, deep down inside, are alike. Each of us has a mind, a heartbeat, and a body. We all want to be happy, and life is not easy for any of us (even though our social media feeds might suggest otherwise).
Take a moment and consider this about your fellow humans:
We all want to be content.
We all want to be loved.
We all want TO love.
We all want to be appreciated.
We have all suffered in some way.
What's a real-world example of how you can practice recognizing common humanity? Try it on the road.
Have you ever been angry at someone on the freeway, because he cut you off? If so, how did you react? Did you call that person a jerk?
Now consider (honestly)...have you ever cut someone off on the freeway? If you answered "yes," let's think about why. Maybe you were in a hurry, or you didn't see the other car, or you were afraid of missing your exit.
So...are YOU a jerk?
This week, set an intention to give others the benefit of the doubt. If a driver cuts you off, assume that she is in a hurry. Instead of the knee-jerk reaction of calling her a jerk, let's assume that deep down inside we are all the same.
Here are some ways that you can recognize common humanity this week:
Say “hello” to someone you don’t know. Repeat!
Smile at people.
Lots of them! Loved ones, strangers, “enemies,” and yourself.
Offer kindness on the road.
Let someone in. Try to offer drivers the benefit of the doubt if they cut you off.
Purchase coffee (or something) for a stranger, take some clothes to a homeless shelter, donate to your favorite charity.
Consider common humanity.
Think about someone you don’t know well and spend a few minutes imagining her hopes, fears & dreams.
Make plans to volunteer. Go to www.volunteermatch.org to find opportunities near you.
Seek out a neighbor, co-worker, or fellow student that you don't know and introduce yourself.