I had such fun on Friday! I firmly believe that it does the soul and mind some good to do something that takes us away from our daily routine. And I do this from time to time. Friday afternoon I left the house at 4:30pm and went out to dinner with a girlfriend. We chatted during the entire half hour drive to town, all during the meal and all the way home. After dinner, we went to Giant Tiger. Normally I don’t buy much there, especially in the clothing section. But I found the cutest blue/white print, tried it on, and it was a perfect fit. Have received many compliments on it when I wore it for the first time. After we returned home, we sat in my driveway and discussed our individual takes on the state of the world, the nation, our community, and our own personal lives. It was 8:30 when we finally decided to get back to our routines. As I was leaving my friend’s vehicle, I remarked that we should definitely “do this again”. My friend responded, “I only hope we live long enough…” I must have looked startled because she quickly added, “… to see some of the world’s problems solved”. What a relief! I thought she was going to say “…before we get together again”. It was a lovely outing and definitely going to get together again soon, while there’s still life left in us.
First, I would like to explain my personal preference: I enjoy any exchange of ideas because that is how I like to learn about new things. I do not enjoy arguing about anything. In my experience, arguments lead to loud voices and illogical presentations. Nothing is learned, and feelings may be hurt. Second, I am not a member of any “group-think”. I think for myself; I do not need someone else to do my thinking for me.
That being said, I recently experienced a rather unpleasant encounter when someone took great exception to an opinion that I expressed on the topic of the new dollar coin. I am not in favor of it. My opinion is just that: I’m not interested whatsoever in converting anyone to my way of thinking.
What I thought would be a discussion turned out to be a shouting match. I was, in a very short period of time, accused of being homo-phobic, verbally assaulted with all kinds of politically correct rhetoric, and accused of ‘blaming the victim’,and of having no compassion. The entire situation astounded me. It has taken some time to process what happened. I was exhausted afterwards – drained.
I learned nothing except a reluctance to express myself, ever again. And this was from one who initially cheered me on to write a ‘blog’ in the first place. I would like to point out, however, that my feelings were not hurt. My accuser is so much younger than I, and has not had my life experiences. After much thought, I am still firm in the belief that I am entitled to my opinions, as is everyone else.
So on that note: I am still not in favor of the new dollar coin, and I am not in favor of politicians marching in LGBTQ parades to “show their support”. Politicians should do their jobs by enacting and enforcing the rights of all citizens, And to the one who expressed such a low opinion of me…that’s your opinion, not mine. And that’s OK with me.
Empathy: actually feeling the experiences and emotions of another person.
For me, empathy has proven, often, to be rather debilitating and exhausting. It requires quite an effort to extract myself from another’s woes in order to be of any use to them or to myself. For that reason, I consider ’empathy’ rather a hindrance than a gift.
Compassion: the almost instinctive reaching out to another when they are troubled or suffering.
Compassion is a natural out-pouring of a loving spirit. It is a gift and a necessity for the advancement of my spirit and the spirit of the entire world. It is the innate desire to help, to be kind. It is the ultimate expression of Love – a gift to a world weary of strife and stagnation.
However, one has to exercise caution. Compassion should be exercised without any expectation of outcome. Also, I must practice discernment and not allow others to abuse my gift. I think self-care and self respect must come first. I need to be aware of the chronic ‘people-users’ and ‘takers’ around me.
Having compassion for others does not make me a ‘saint’, by any meaning of that word. Far from it…there are many times when my Ego gets in the way, and I may behave selfishly. But I keep on trying to improve myself and to put the Ego in its proper place.
So, all that being said, I will stop inflicting my ideas on this topic onto my patient readers. 🙂