Active Compassion suggests that you aren’t just compassionate toward others when they say or do something, you’re compassionate toward others when you say or do something, too.
Who Are You Really Offending On Social Media?
“Anyone who votes for Donald Trump is a complete idiot.”
“If you like Hillary Clinton you must be a liar and criminal, too!”
“The audience of Fuller House must be made up of sad old wives who don’t have Oprah to watch anymore.”
I’m sure you’ve seen quotes like this popping up on Facebook and/or Twitter from time to time. Every now and then you read a post or a tweet like this from a friend or family member as it appears in your stream. You may have even posted things like this yourself.
Are we really so conceited and narcissistic to believe that all the people we love – the people we dine with, watch football with, whose kids we sometimes babysit – have the exact same point of view that we do? Are we really so convinced of our own point of view that we think posting such things doesn’t offend those people?
Worse – do we care?
The Art Of Active Compassion
If we actually believe that everyone we care about thinks the exact same way we do (or if we otherwise don’t care what they think) – if we can’t stop for a moment to consider the fact that even our own friends and family might think differently than we do – then how in he world are we ever supposed to be compassionate toward people we don’t even know?
We often think of compassion as something that’s reactive. “So-and-so said such-and-such, and I need to be mindful to consider who they are and where they come from and why they might say that”. But just as much – and maybe even moreso – compassion is active. Active Compassion suggests that you aren’t just compassionate toward others when they say or do something, you’re compassionate toward others when you say or do something, too.
I’m not saying you can’t have an opinion or that you can’t feel passionate about something. I’m not even saying you can’t talk or post about those things. What I am saying is that posts and tweets like those above are not doing you any favors – they’re creating enemies out of people you’ve worked hard to cultivate into a support group. These are the people you’re depending on to be behind you when you’re trying to make things happen in your life. They’re the people you want by your side when things go terribly wrong and you’ve no place else to land. Is it really worth pushing them away over not so much your point of view but the way in which you deliver it?
And if we’re really willing to turn friends into enemies because we can’t see past our own noses, how can we expect to have any peace or understanding in this world at all?