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Today is the day. The day 1,000 bloggers join together to write about compassion. Why? Because the world needs more compassion. People need compassion. And when one blogger noted that we all need a village at least once in our lives, another blogger had an idea that spread like wildfire. And here we are today.
I’m not going to lie. This week has been a tough one for me. One year ago around this time, my world changed drastically. I am coming up on the anniversary of telling my children their mother and father would no longer be together. That same week? I received an email containing a book contract to review.
There is so much to be happy about, yet still so much to heal from.
There were many times when I needed a village last year. I still need one every now and then. We all do. We are human. We are fragile, even when we are strong.
Compassion? It’s what keeps the world spinning. It’s what prevents us from giving up. Whether we are on the giving or receiving end of compassion, it gives us hope. Happiness. Gratitude.
We are living, breathing creatures who need love in our lives. Love that can come in many forms.
Since we are writing about what compassion means to each one of us individually today, I thought I’d sit down and write the first things that come to my brain. You can’t overthink compassion, after all. And, really, what better timing for me to reflect on compassion than right now? (Also perfect for Philanthropy Friday, as compassion is one of the simplest ways to give back.)
To me, compassion is:
- Encouraging words during a struggle
- Friends who know what you need even when you don’t
- Loving, supportive communities that exist without judgment or pretense
- The touching moment when you realize you are with someone who understands what you are going through
- Knowing sharing just a small part of your story has helped another
- Comfortable silence
- Reassuring hugs from my children
- Giving whatever you can, because there are people far worse off than you
- Saying I love you and truly meaning it
- Sharing a passion with the world
- Smiling at a stranger
- Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes
- Letting your guard down
- Late night conversations about everything and nothing
What does compassion mean to you?
Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer. Read past stories here.
In my most recent newsletter, I shared a writing tip that included two key pieces of advice an accomplished author received as an aspiring writer: allow yourself to write badly and trust the process.
I couldn’t help but think this was great advice for life in general.
Too often writers get so caught up in producing a polished piece that they don’t write at all. They forget about the fact that they can always go back and edit later. That bad writing – though, in my experience, what we think is bad is often not the case – is exponentially better than no writing at all.
How often do we caught up in what we think the end result is supposed to be in life rather than just living in the moment and seeing what happens next? How often do we get stuck in the perceived plan for work, family, love and relationships? How often to we get paralyzed when we should take action?
It can be a scary process for sure. To put into action the things we want to happen without knowing if our goals are actually attainable or even right for us.
You have to trust the process. And we each have our own process that is unique to us.
I’ve been told countless times that I will “get it done” and that I always do. This is true for me. When I look back at some of the things I’ve been fortunate enough to do in my life, I’ve simply found a way to do them. This is not to say I haven’t failed, because I certainly have. Those things that didn’t go my way? There was usually a reason they did not come to fruition because something better was around the corner for me.
We forget how to live in the moment at times. The countless amount of storms we have endured in Maine this winter have affected my plans. While this can be a burden, sometimes we just have to accept that our plans need to change or that we need to just stop what we are doing completely, even for a short period. Sometimes we don’t get to where we want to go and that’s OK. Sometimes we need to focus on whatever is happening at that moment and forget the other things that haunt us in our brains for attention.
Last Friday, I found myself having trouble with my deadlift again while working out. I can do squats and pushups all day long, but the bane of my existence in my workout regiment is the deadlift. I don’t know what it is, but it seems like every time I am introduced a new version of this exercise, I have trouble. It’s not that I don’t know the proper form or that I can’t lift the weight, because I can and I do. My trainer makes sure of this and I have plenty of encouragement from my workout buddies.
My brain gets in the way, telling me I’ve had trouble in the past. That I’m just not built to do it. This, of course, is not true. I keep on pushing myself to get past my reservations and I do it. Eventually. Much like writing, I get the bad deadlifting out of the way so that I can celebrate the good lifting later.
We make decisions every day of our life, some small and some big. They all affect us in the grand scheme of things. When I look back to the times I’ve stuck with what I wanted and what felt right to me versus what was perceived as a better plan, I am thankful for doing so.
I may not know what next month brings or even what tomorrow brings, but I have to trust the process. I know there’s a plan, and that I can figure things out along the way. After all, I always do. Things work out, even when I am faced with an unexpected route or when my own thinking sidetracks me.
It’s invigorating to get away from the plan and what looks good on paper, to live in the moment and trust the process, knowing you can always edit and make changes later. If we don’t allow ourselves to do so, are we really living to our full potential?