Tag Archives: help

A-Z of Life – Compassion

compassionThe very definition of compassion is the sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.

But being wrapped up in our own very stressful and demanding lives we can sometimes walk by on the other side of the road.

Or we walk by not because we don’t want to help but we don’t know how, or we feel unsure that we aren’t going to get swindled or robbed by stopping.

Or worse, we see pictures of people in plight, take pity on them, but heaven forbid they come and live in my backyard type of attitude.

We are all very good it seems at dipping into our purses for huge disaster fund-raising appeals, or telethon, which is brilliant in its own way, but does compassion really have to be a huge gesture.

Sometimes an act of compassion can be something as simple as a hug, asking if someone is OK, being an ear to listen (just listen and not offer advice unless asked for) or simply respecting when someone needs time alone to gather their strength or their thoughts.

And acts of compassion can start at home, but it can be difficult.

18 months ago my mum nearly died because the doctors failed to notice she was literally filling up with fluid as her kidneys were failing. Thankfully, action was taken in the nick of time, and she’s still here.  But since then her health has deteriorated and although she’s still my mum, she’s not the woman I knew – if that makes sense.

Technically now, aside from her kidneys, which have stabilised, there is nothing wrong with her. But it has taken its toll mentally, and she has slid into that downward spiral of depression. Most days she gets up and sits in her chair – sleeping most of the time – and it is a great day if she gets dressed.

It’s certainly taken its toll on my dad, whose temper spring is wound more tightly than ever.

And some days it is difficult to find compassion when you can see that she might feel better if she actually got dressed, ate something, or tried to go outside for a breath of fresh air, but that she isn’t doing anything to help and it looks like she is just sitting there waiting to die!

But I try to show compassion by trying to understand how she must be feeling and pretty much taking over the household stuff. After all she’s my mum and I love her.

I have always tried to be a compassionate person. I have always been there for anyone who wants to chat, or needs a hug, or if anything wants doing I have always offered, and I always will.

I found a lovely article which gave 5 ways you can show compassion:

  1. Lighten a load – simply by offering to do something for someone else. It could be as simple as offering your seat on public transport or offering to do the shopping for an elderly neighbour.
  2. Give a hug – and from someone who loves cuddles, this is my favourite. A hug shows you care. A hug says what you want without actually having to say anything at all. Quite simply it means I’m here for you.
  3. See yourself in them – or simply have empathy, the ability to put yourselves in their shoes. You don’t necessarily have to have the answers to fix anything, just by being aware of their situation and trying to understand how you would feel and act in their shoes. Maybe they’re overworked and tired and just need some alone time, if that were me the last thing I would want is to be interrupted in my own head space, so the best thing to do is let them have their time alone and not bother them.  It doesn’t mean that you don’t care, but that you respect them.
  4. Let your heart-break – we’ve all seen the heart-breaking ads on television from charities. And yes we can donate money, but sometimes maybe we can help out nearer home by volunteering a few hours to drive elderly people to appointments, or help out at a group for disadvantaged children.  When I was in sixth form I did voluntary community service once a week at an old people’s home, and loved spending the afternoon chatting and having cups of tea with them. These days I volunteer at school on the PTA, and do various jobs at church.
  5. Respond always – this one is a little bit like having empathy, but if you need to speak make sure it’s always something positive. So if someone sounds a bit down try to give them a boost and say how amazing they are.

I guess, what I’m trying to say is that with a bit of compassion for our fellow humans, maybe we can start making the world a nicer place to live in!

What do you think?

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Who has made an impact on your life?

As the song from the musical “Wicked” goes:wicked

I’ve heard it said,
That people come into our lives
For a reason
Bringing something we must learn.
And we are lead to those
Who help us most to grow if we let them.
And we help them in return.

And it’s also true that until we learn the lesson we are meant to learn, we will keep making the same mistake.

Something SC said to me this morning struck a chord.  He mentioned a friend of mine he had met once, for only a couple of hours, with such affection it got me thinking.

So, I think it just goes to show that it doesn’t matter who we meet in our journey through life, some people will always make an impact for better or worse and whether they are in your life for a long time or a short time.

SC has made a positive impact in my life in more than one way. For him to grow up to be the person I want him to be, I have to be that person myself, so he has forced me to do a lot of soul-searching about positive ways to live my life and be happy, so he can grow up to be a confident young man.

My headmaster at junior school made a big impact on my life. It was him who helped me develop my love of all things numerical.

I credit one guy (I can’t even remember his name) with making me realise what I wanted to do with my life. After watching a movie, which I spent several minutes dissecting (as is my want sometimes), he turned round and said to me “acting’s what you want to do, isn’t it?” Up until that point, theatre was something I just did. I’d grown up dancing and having drama lessons as a means of working off energy and developing a clear speaking voice. But that one comment made me realise that, yes, that’s what I did want to do. Writing it down now, some 20 years later, still makes me dream. Yes, I went to drama school and did a bit of professional stuff. Nothing major, but I never lose hope that one day … maybe 😉

So, who has made an impact on your life, in a positive or negative way?

And I might as well finish with another quote from that amazing “Wicked” song, and, yes, I confess this is the point in the show where I am blubbing like a baby into my tissue, and just reading the lyrics makes me well up – so if you’ll excuse me, I’ll leave you with the lyrics, whilst I go and find a tissue (sniff, sniff)…

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime.
So, let me say before we part:
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you.
You’ll be with me
Like a hand print on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you’ll have rewritten mine
By being my friend.

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea.
Like a seed dropped by a sky bird
In a distant wood.
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good.

 

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Loneliness

Lonely is when you have no one to talk to,

Lonely is when you have no one to help share the load,

Lonely is when you need help, but no one seems to know or care,

Lonely is when your friends seem to have deserted you, even though you’ve always been there for them

Lonely is when you live your life through imagined conversations,

Lonely is when your dreams are more real than reality,

Lonely is not a state of mind, lonely is a reality.

[2011]

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