Christmas is a funny time. We spend extended periods of time with people we may not see too often, we go out with colleagues we may otherwise barely even share a coffee with. We make time to see people we may not bother about so much for the rest of the year.
Then we hit crimbo limbo where no one is quite sure what day it is. (And someone might write their blog post 2 days late…)
In short, it’s a time where normal life is suspended and everything is a bit all over the place. A time of joy but also a time of stress for many.
In the true Christmas spirit, I want to write about taking time to remember to be tolerant and show compassion.
Whether it’s that irritating uncle, that friend who is always late, that slightly bigoted in-law… We all have someone who grates on us in that fingernails down a blackboard way.
So at this time of year, lets try to up our tolerance levels a little and remember to show them some compassion.
As much as you think you might, you don’t know someone’s internal story.
You don’t know what is going on inside their world so perhaps it’s time to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Our attitude to others often reflects our attitude towards ourselves. Are people annoying because we think they are? If we look for the bad, we see more bad.
If you are not willing to indulge Aunty June’s 57th telling of that childhood story that she finds so funny, what does that say about you?
How about smiling at the joy it brings her instead of rolling your eyes and looking for more egg nog?
Choose to see the good in the world and you will see a good world. Choose only to see the negative and that will be your perception. You can experience the world however you decide to.
You can’t avoid the great problems of the world and I’m not suggesting you deny them but, on balance, the world is a much better place than the news would portray it.
Compassion is not about dramatic acts of heroism, it’s about small everyday acts of kindness and consideration. It’s an opportunity to practice our humanity and something that we can all make time for.
Compassion is the opposite of blame. There is a scene from the West Wing which talks about exactly this and has stuck with me for years.
It says it a lot better than I can
In the reactive, on line world and media, empathy and willingness to understand other view points seems to be a dying art. We would much rather blame others for a situation than to show compassion for what has let them to that place. If we all took a little more time to listen and understand then perhaps we can start to change that.
So I guess there lies my first new year’s resolution. To listen and understand instead of placing blame.
After all, compassion is not just for Christmas.
Big Love from the end of 2018