On the Path to Personal Power?

What Is Your Compassion Quotient

by Cate Cavanagh

I know what it is to despair, to have only tokens to go back and forth to work until next payday. I also know what it is to have salary that does not pay all the bills and, I also know what it is to be jobless. Having been evicted on more than one occasion in my life, I know the fear of homelessness. Not everyone, as witnessed by the number of homeless people and families, are as blessed as I have been. I have been on the "brink" on more than one occasion . Because I know firsthand what hardship is I have housed strangers with no where to go until they were on their feet again. As a struggling widow with a young child, I often gave the last dollar in my pocket to women, young children in tow, who were on the brink of tears pleading for help to feed their children. I have also bought a cup of coffee and a sandwich for people who were hungry and unable to get loose change from passersby. I have also been had. I have given a dollar and witnessed the person run straight into a liquor store. My hardships gave me compassion even though I knew there would be some doing a con. So, faced with an opportunity to show compassion or a possible scam, what would you do?

I have seen how one little act can mean so much to someone in total despair. I personally knew someone who went to an overpass to commit suicide by jumping. When he got there, there was a woman about to do the same thing. He talked her out of it and, in the process, talked himself out of committing suicide also. In giving her hope, he found hope for himself. Giving of ourselves in some measure be it monetary or giving someone a home cooked meal little uplifts the spirit. I am not talking about giving with the goal of gaining something in return the way some people bargain with their god by saying "If you do this for me, I will do that." I am speaking of giving merely because it is the right thing to do. Our problems, like anyone else's, took years to develop but an instant of hope can change a lifetime. So have you lost compassion?

The following are your humanity checks. Do you judge the homeless? Do you consider them lazy? Stop and think what could they be mirroring within yourself? Are you afraid of being in that situation? Could you be afraid of people judging you as you are judging others? For every reaction we have to people and circumstances, our reactions are more about us than them. One way to help people without becoming personally involved is to look at where you can make donations. No matter how little we have it is important to give to the needy. You can also drop clothes off at a clothes drop for the homeless. Donate a can food to a food drive. Even though we may be facing huge obstacles it is important to not lose compassion. A yes answer to any or all of the questions is not to be used to judge yourself poorly. These questions are posed in order for you to gauge what degree your humanity may be "shut down" because of your life experiences.

If you find yourself discovering yourself lacking in "humanity" you are not a terrible person, nor should you judge yourself. You can however become more aware of where you are in your personal development. With all you have experienced you may be overloaded. It is no disgrace to withdraw in order to not feel more pain. We all need a break. Just know that this is where you are and why. As you begin to heal yourself and move forward in your life you will discover your humanity never left you.

In order to see our potential, it is often necessary to learn who we have become in deciding who we want to be. It takes courage to do a self inventory but having gotten through what you have already have says you can do this and make changes for your benefit. Without it, you lose your humanity and without humanity, you lose your own soul and spirit to the despair and bitterness that is a living darkness

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