I ran across an article on Facebook about a ROTC student named Monica at the University of Louisville, who is a single mother. Monica was forced to bring her 4 and 5 year-old to class after not being able to secure a babysitter. Her professor ended up watching her children for her in the hallway, while she took her exam in the classroom. In the article, the professor said, "A person like Monica, she's a non-commissioned officer going to school, she's a mom of two kids. I mean that's the kind of thing that's really impressive," Krebs told ABC News. "Me handling her kids for 40, 45 minutes, that's not impressive."
This story inspired me to write about the topic of showing compassion because it is very much linked to our health and wellness. How many times have we run across somebody in need or rather we’ve been in need and the response that we’ve given or received was, “Not my problem.” True enough, other people’s burdens aren’t “our problem” (because we have enough of our own right), but at the same time showing compassion isn’t about taking on someone else’s problems, it’s about being understanding, being human and accepting people for who they are at that moment in time.
Compassion can be shown on a macro level (strangers, co-workers) or on a more interpersonal level (family members, spouses, friends). Sometimes we butt heads with the people that are closest to us because we lack to show them compassion or vice versa. People respond and behave to different scenarios for a variety of reasons that we may not understand. Those reasons usually stem from past experiences (negative or positive) that influence their decisions, behaviors and responses to life situations. (Note: not to be confused with accepting someone’s abuse)
I remember when I was in my teens/early 20s my mother and I would get into disagreements a lot on most topics, but one in particular. It wasn’t until I was older and learned more about my mother’s history that I was able to be more compassionate to why she responded the way she did in certain situations. I regretted the way I treated her in my youth because it all made sense to me now. I’m sure I hurt her feelings back then by not showing compassion. However today as a 34 year old, woman whose been through her own life experiences, I am much more in tuned and aware with how I respond to others. On the contrary, I’m also thankful for the loved-ones in my life that show compassion to me.
Today, remember to show compassion to the people you love. Even if their behaviors make you scratch your head. We’re all dealing with something the best way we know how.