Compassion and understanding require no reason

The other day (don’t ask me which day because the days of the past two weeks have blurred into each other) I read something that stuck with me.
I don’t know where I saw it but the words hammered on that little bell in my head and I stored them away for future reflection.
The question was asked “If each person had the suffering they have endured in life written on their forehead would you treat them any differently”?
My first thought was “You’d need more space than my forehead for my family” but then I stopped thinking selfishly to ponder the words. I mean I really spent some time in thought on this.

When tragedy strikes a person or family, it creates a ripple effect amongst those around them. The ripples can spread quite some distance and can affect people you may not have even thought it would.
Grief causes people to act in ways that they may not usually behave. They may say things that they wouldn’t normally even consider.
Tragic circumstances can bring out both the best and the worst in a person. Those suffering grief are also more easily affected by the words and actions of those around them.
When you live these times in life with your emotions so close to the surface they become raw.
If some of the people who crossed our paths over the past weeks or so had words depicting their own suffering on their forehead would it have changed the way we thought about them at the time? Would I have reacted any differently to the way in which I did?

To be honest I’m not really sure where I am going with this.
In recent days I have found myself easily annoyed by others,  however this meme I found yesterday on Facebook sums me up quite well.

Sure this made me laugh but only because it has become quite true of me in the past year or so. However, I am no saint and I did (and still do) get annoyed at the smallest things surrounding the events and the reactions of people in the past week. After some reflection I am learning to put that annoyance aside when I think about the reasons behind the words said or the actions taken and I am working on ‘calming my farm’ (as my son would say).

If every person had their suffering on their forehead, would it make us kinder? More gentle? More understanding?
Or should we be like that anyway?
It’s really hard to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, but when we do it makes the world a better place to be.
Not every person wishes to share their suffering with others.
Not every person advertises when they are hurting.
Many people hold it inside and those around them are none the wiser to what is unfolding in their lives.

Therefore, if we treat every person in the same way that we wish to be treated then we’ve got to be doing something right.
If we put aside our judgements we become better people.
Heck! I’m not perfect.
After reminding The Son numerous times to look past the words and actions of people and find their intent (because many people don’t know what to say and do around a person who is grieving and inadvertently offend or hurt), he had to remind me of my own words after I became upset about something myself.

As I said earlier, when there have been tragic circumstances, people react either in their best way or in the worst. In the past fortnight, I have witnessed both.
But I keep reminding myself that there are reasons for the actions of these people and I may not always know them.
Therefore, in the absence of not knowing what their own personal journey through life  has been like, I need to treat each person with the respect that I accord myself and those I love.
It is a lesson I have learned.

It is a lesson that I am still learning.

Sometimes I get an ‘A’ and sometimes it’s a ‘D-‘ but it’s all a learning process.

This thing called Life is a funny thing….

30 thoughts on “Compassion and understanding require no reason

  1. Yes, it is hard to live it, but I agree 100%. We have no idea what others are going through. Sure, it’s possible they’re just being jerks, but it’s just as possible I’m the one being the jerk. if we’re all a little nicer, a little less judgmental, a little more understanding the world would be a much better place.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think when our emotions are raw and near the surface we have less patience, less tolerance. It is just how it is. It makes it hard to look past our own grief to think about what others are going through. We don’t care- we have our own whatever to contend with. It is true that if we pause for a moment before being curt with someone or acting in a not so positive way, to think about what they might be going through, we can become better people. It is certainly a kinder way to be.But again, when we are going through hard times ourselves, I say all bets are off- not meaning it allows someone free reign to be rude, but grief forces a person into someone who they may not naturally be. It changes us, it skews us. I am glad to see you back writing. I missed you


  3. Grief is manifested in many ways, I think I have seen most of them over the years, the whole gambut,
    Anger,saddness,rage, greed,complacency and elation unfortunately.
    The saddest manifestation is Greed, it can break the family unit apart, whereas Compassion
    unites the family in loss and grief.


  4. I struggle with this as well. My intentions are pure but sometimes my reaction and feelings get the best of me. I imagine we all struggle with this one. I would be gentler if someones troubles were posted on their forehead but how unfair is that. The way I treat someone should not be conditional but sometimes, like it or not, it definitely is. Great post Suzi!


  5. Words to ponder for sure. Oddly enough I just posted something on my facebook this morning…”never underestimate the pain of a person, because in all honesty everyone is struggling with something. Some people are better at hiding it than others.” It’s a quote I found googling. And even odder is that it’s easier for me to apply this to people other than certain family members. Hugs Sue…and I’m so sorry you had a loss.


    1. I think we are sometimes more harsh toward family members because we know them so well. It is much easier to make excuses for someone that we hardly know. I guess that is human nature.
      What has thrown me over the past week is just how far reaching the grief has spread within our family.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing your ponderings … it made me ponder too Sue. The world would be a more peaceful place if we came from empathy and compassion for our fellow humans.
    Val x


  7. This is so true, “The Golden Rule” is what we were taught. It can be hard to follow sometimes, in grief, during stress of any kind. We need to learn to forgive ourselves as much as we need to forgive each other. I know I’ve said (and done) some stupid things that I cringe when I think about them. It’s great to read your writing again Sue!


  8. I strive to treat all I meet as I wish to be treated, and I try to find what would be behind a cruel comment. It’s the hurting on the inside which makes some cruel. (my opinion). I’m not always perfect, but that’s what I use Facebook for…the vent out all the ugly. 🙂

    Wishes for comfort for your family. I’m thinking about you.


    1. Ha ha. You have to make sure that FB lives up to its reputation I guess April. lol
      Seriously, I think that although there are some people who are just plain ugly on the inside, most of them have a story to tell.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I think it goes back to the ‘Golden Rule’, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ As for would a person treat another better if they knew their troubles, no, unfortunately. Most would be scurrying around trying to make their own problems look worse so that they’d get the warm fuzzies.


  10. When you are in pain it’s hard to be tolerant and have compassion. We are slowly going through a grieving process here too and it’s hard so I know exactly where you are coming from.


  11. Oh I absolutely believe everyone is speaking from emotion or self-depravity of emotion. I view “excuses” as reasons. All the feelings are valid. But then, it’s up to the person to use them or not. I may be justified in being unkind, but I’m still responsible for being unkind. You know?


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