Today’s post is a challenge for every reader:
- I challenge you to read what I have to say, think over it for yourself and share it with as many people as you can if you agree with it. It is a simple challenge, but one that calls for you to be true to yourself but also strong enough to stand up for what is right. A change is needed, be the one to start it, right here, right now.
Our world has forgotten the importance of compassion. Individuals may not have, but the largest contributors to our global society have; the media, our scientists, our research doctors, our world leaders, our governments. Compassion is one of humanity’s greatest traits yet it is being left behind. Here is the Oxford dictionary entry of the word Compassion:
“Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others:the victims should be treated with compassion”
Somewhere in our contemporary history we mixed up the words compassion and awareness. Though most may not realize it, there are two definitions of the word awareness:
1. “Knowledge or perception of a situation or fact:we need to raise public awareness of the issuethere is a lack of awareness of the risks”
2. “Concern about and well-informed interest in a particular situation or development:a growing environmental awareness; his political awareness developed”
It is the second definition that has slowly but surely come to become the focal point of our modern society. We need to increase awareness for this or that; Cancer awareness, Fibromyalgia awareness, Lupus awareness, Environmental awareness, Political awareness. We need to know that these things are happening! We need to know what they are! But without compassion where does that leave us?
“I have the knowledge that we are slowly making our planet unsustainable for human life, but if I just throw this one can in the garbage it isn’t a problem, I recycle all the time.”
If I said this to you, I doubt that you would flinch at the logic. It is just one little thing, it doesn’t make a difference. This statement encompasses the effects of AWARENESS. It says that “I know this is happening, and I will keep track of it because I know this is an important trend to follow”. Awareness for any topic, from medicine to politics to religion to the environment does absolutely nothing without compassion. Compassion is that extra step to say that you are genuinely concerned and sympathize on more than an intellectual level. Awareness engages your mind to say that you know, while compassion engages your emotions to say that you feel. We need to start a new wave of thinking, one that is inclusive to all humans as a united people: a wave of Compassion.
Today we read articles to keep up to date on the latest news about medicine, I can tell you as someone who lives with Fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, Chronic migraine, and a few other things it is hard to keep up to date on the latest research. Not because I have trouble finding them or because I physically have trouble getting access to them. I have trouble keeping up to date with research because of how negative it always comes out. Most of the articles published about medical findings are written without compassion, hope or any constructive advice or words. They are written as life sentences. “You have this. You will have this forever. It will be hard on all the people you know. You will struggle to find coping mechanisms but you will have to. You will become isolated from this.” is generally how they read. It is articles written by fellow individuals experiencing these things that are filled with hope for better days and advice for not only those suffering but those loved ones offering their support. Medical articles often offer a dismal outlook on our lives that are already hard enough to cope with. These articles are straight facts without any compassion, they are simply meant to raise awareness.
That isn’t the end though, straight facts are necessary to help anyone going through any illness, be it chronic or acute, but we need to start caring and add that bit of compassion. We need to teach ourselves, our friends, our family and our children that compassion can be learned. We need to learn how to recognize that our sick and elderly are not in fact burdens or useless in society; that they have important roles and a right to basic human dignity. We need to find compassion for the natural world around us if we want to survive on this planet, especially since we know the world will survive long after we humans are gone. We need to show sympathy for the people around us, and learn to trust our neighbors. Continue to promote awareness, but add compassion to the mix. You are fundraising for cancer awareness? Explain what the people go through that are supporting those cancer patients, give resources for people so that if someone they know succumbs they have ways to cope. Don’t leave the masses stuck with “Well I know about it”, give them more so that they can learn from it and accept that these are just parts of real life.
My challenge is to not just stop at becoming aware of everything, go the step further and be compassionate.
Become aware, then care.