Compassion for Hypocrites
The district representative who represented their own needs. The hustler who own 5 cars and a plane. The woman who tweets about income inequality on a device made by underpaid workers. The environmentalist who flies to their next save-the-planet rally. The vegan who sprays insecticide on her garden.
We are all hypocrites. And we are all suffering on some level. So, instead of pointing fingers, let’s find compassion for the people who disagree with us, the people who anger us, the people on the “wrong” side of the issue.
Compassion is composed of the Latin preposition com (with) and the verb passus (to suffer). Meaning, to have compassion, we must simply be with someone who’s suffering. We needn’t feel their suffering (that’s empathy), nor must we remove their grief or provide countless solutions; we need only bare witness.
I can hug you, even if I don’t agree with you.
I can listen to you, even if I don’t want to hear you.
I can love you, even if I don’t like every piece of you.
If we can do this—if we can temper our interactions with compassion—then we have a chance to ease our collective suffering.