The fifteenth rule of being a man is:
Much of the meaning, joy, and value of life is derived from our relationships and interactions with others.
Think about everything that you do. How much of it would matter if you were the only person on earth?
Would you go to work? Not likely. Your work wouldn’t have meaning. Not just because you don’t need to work to get paid, but because the things you do at work are likely to help someone else.
That’s how our world works. Almost everything we do, we do because of the other people in our lives.
Doctors help other people. Lawyers and accountants help other people. Truck drivers, drive because they’re delivering goods so that other people can use or buy them.
Farmers raise way more food than they can eat because they are providing it for the rest of the country.
What would life be without other people?
What you do matters
Every action you take and every thing you say to another person affects someone.
That affect can be positive or it can be negative.
That’s why it’s important to always see others as human beings. Human beings with value.
Everyone is a human being just like you with wants, needs, strengths, weaknesses, hopes, and fears just like you have.
When you show compassion, you treat others as human beings of value.
You reinforce their worth and show them that they matter.
The opposite of compassion
Here are words that mean the opposite of compassion:
I don’t want to treat anyone with cruelty, hatred, harshness, meanness, or indifference and I don’t want anyone to treat me in any of those ways.
I’m sure you don’t either.
They’re all negative behaviors that destroy relationships and create enemies. In the best case, indifference, is still a very uncaring way to be treated.
Imagine if you are suffering and the hospital staff treat you with indifference. How would you feel?
I would feel let down and rejected. I would feel like they were telling me I am not a worthy human being, that I don’t matter.
When you treat someone with indifference, your actions say that you don’t care about them. That’s not how a man treats others.
Compassion isn’t always easy
Sometimes it can be hard to show compassion.
Like when someone cuts you off in traffic or causes a traffic accident. In cases like those, it’s often very easy to get angry and to think of that other person as dumb or reckless.
You might want to call them names like “idiot” or worse.
Other times maybe it’s a struggle to show compassion when your children are misbehaving. Again, you might be tempted to get angry and shout at them or threaten them, “If you don’t go to bed right now, I’ll ground you for a week!”
But if you think about the other person in those situations and show compassion for them, they will feel better and you’ll often find you do too.
The person who hit your car didn’t do it on purpose. They aren’t happy to have caused the accident and they’re probably beating themselves up inside over it. At the very least, they will have to deal with insurance and car repairs and all the same things that are upsetting you.
And your children aren’t misbehaving to purposely make you angry. They have wants and needs and are trying to meet those needs and learn their way in the world. Maybe they feel like they haven’t gotten enough attention lately or maybe they are trying to express more independence and don’t know a better way.
Showing compassion makes a difference
When you show compassion and treat others as human beings first, then you:
- Understand that they are imperfect, flawed, and struggling just like you are at time
- Won’t see them as an enemy or a burden
- Give yourself the opportunity to see them as a gift
- See this moment as an chance to make a positive difference in their lives
Showing compassion to others makes a positive difference in everyone’s life.
– Weston Henry
Do you show compassion in your treatment and interactions with others?
Can you think of a situation where you didn’t show compassion? How could you have handled it differently to show more compassion?
Is there a time that sticks out in your mind when someone treated you with compassion? How did that make you feel?
Is there a time when someone didn’t treat you with compassion? How did you feel afterward?
How can we make compassion a habit so that it’s our normal everyday behavior?