Will you choose compassion?

I had an OpEd published in our local newspaper on the weekend. It was about homelessness and choice.

There were many voices of support. Of people applauding me for my words and insight.

I like feeling connected to people who agree with me. It’s immensely human and makes me feel good!

But what about those who wrote in to disagree? Who believe, even though I wrote that homelessness is not a choice, it’s a lack of choice, a lack of resilience, a lack of many things — that homelessness is a choice. That if people just got jobs and cleaned up, their lives would be all better.

In the face of their words, I don’t feel so connected.

Their words cause me despair.

Their view of the world causes me consternation.

In the face of their differing worldview there is a part of me that would really just like to call them names, tell them they’re wrong, tell them to ‘get a life’.

Yet, their views have as much right to be heard as mine. Their views are equally as important to the conversation as mine because in their words the truth of the world according to their view rings true.

What will I choose?

Will I choose to condemn and complain?

Or will I choose compassion.?

Will I listen to understand, not to judge?

Will I create space for common ground, rather than a battleground?

In those moments of dissent, finding compassion, acting with integrity, being present is vital.

Because if I lash back, if I choose to discount or ignore their voices, then I am creating a world where us versus them is the norm. Where my voice is the only voice that matters to me and they can damn well go… blah blah blah.

Bottomline, when I respond from a place of condemnation, I am contributing my worst, not my best.

To understand another’s point of view, to find common ground, we must stand with open mind and heart. We must listen deeply without judgement and be willing to be vulnerable.

To be vulnerable, we must choose compassion.


13 thoughts on “Will you choose compassion?

  1. About praise and criticism; we are never as good, or as bad, as we think we are – and we are never as good, or as bad, as others say we are. There will always be multiple viewpoints – both informed and ill-informed. The more YOU inform THEM, the better. Not everyone who agrees with you will shout it out. Most who disagree with you won’t say much either. Those who do take the other view are not all wrong – they are not aligned with you … yet. Your job is to tell, and re-tell, and re-tell the story. It’s not a short term gig … nor are other causes you work hard to shine light on. Keep writing, keep talking, keep shaping the conversation. Twenty years from now this city, and others like it, will be better places in terms of services for and understanding of homeless people. Abused people. Alone and lonely people. Impoverished people. Victimized people. It will be because of people like you …

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I point to a little red wagon and call it red.

    “No, that’s blue,” the other one says.

    I pause for compassion. I let that voice be heard.

    THEN what? Just walk away?

    I don’t think so.

    Searching for any available common ground, I am driven to reply: “Maybe in a black light universe, my friend, but not under this Sun.”

    I can do no less.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mankind has the capacity to think, rationalize and choose sides. Mankind has the capacity to be humane or not, to be kind or cruel, to see the world for what it really is or float through life wearing rose-coloured glasses. Those who believe that homelessness is by choice need to clear the fog out of their minds lest the take a wrong turn at a crossroads in their lives and find themselves – homeless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true Iwona. When my daughters were younger and fought (a lot sometimes it seemed!:) ) I would tell them that they had a right to their anger, but never the right to be cruel in expressing it.

      People do have a choice on how they respond, in kindness or cruelty. And wrong turns are quite easy to take when you’re looking the other way!



Real conversations begin with your comments. Please share your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.