A Little Compassion, Please
noun 1. a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
One thing I love and hate about social media is that it gives everyone a voice. There are so many people and organizations that I subscribe to and look forward to their positive voices on Facebook daily. But with that comes along the voices of those who are angry haters who seem to have no compassion for anyone who isn’t just like them. And yes, I allow their ignorant and hateful comments to sometimes upset me.
One thing I have to work really hard at doing sometimes is to not respond with the same negative anger that is making me upset. Anger with anger. Hate with hate. Ignorance with ignorance. Get my point? I like to think Gandhi knew what he was talking about with an eye for the eye makes the whole world blind.
Just within the past year an alarming number of people have either committed suicide or died from a drug overdose. It really bothers me when I hear and see comments from people who have no compassion for addicts/alcoholics who die from the disease. Same with those who commit suicide. The most common reason for lack of compassion usually comes down to how selfish they are. How could they do this to the people that loved them?
Selfish? What’s selfish is that you think it has anything to do with you or anyone else for that matter. They didn't take your life. They took their own life. You didn't catch the disease of addiction from them. They suffered from the disease. This has nothing to do with you. We have no idea what it’s like to live in their shoes, and until we do…we need to stop assuming what it is that they were thinking. We have no clue.
The ones we lose at the hands of mental illness and addiction are often some of the most compassionate people with some of the most gentle souls to walk to earth. My brother easily recognized pain in others because he had the same pain within himself. I’ve heard Rick Warren say the same thing about his son who suffered from mental illness and committed suicide.
You think it’s easier for someone to take a gun to their head and kill themselves? You think it’s easier to take a drug to try and escape the reality and misery of their addiction? Happy healthy people aren't putting a gun to their head and killing themselves. Happy healthy people aren’t found in a bathroom with a needle in their arm dead. We can’t begin to understand the complex nature of an addict or someone suffering from grave mental illness unless we’ve ever died from an accidental overdose or committed suicide. So, stop judging and hating people for something you can’t begin to wrap your mind around. Just have a little compassion. Compassion for a life that was lost. Compassion for a life that was suffering.
And if you can’t muster up compassion for these people, please just at least have a little respect for the families who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
I can assure you that mine and my family’s pain wasn’t any less because my brother died from a drug overdose than it would have been if he had died in a car crash. Because my brother’s life, like any addict who dies from the disease, was far more than being an alcoholic/addict. He was a son, and a brother and an uncle. He was a husband, a cousin and a friend. He was smart and funny and had the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever known. He was more than his disease.
So, please…just think before you speak. And if what you have to say is going to hurt anyone, just ask yourself why it is you feel the need to say it all.