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  • Writer's pictureCathi Williams

Finding Compassion and Respect

listening, effective communication

Has anyone else observed the lack of compassion and respect in society? What has become of the good old days when, if something was bothering you, you could ask them politely to stop and people would respect the request? More importantly, how can we reinstate a cultural norm of treating others according to the golden rule – doing unto others as we would have them do unto us?

In my role as a life coach, and through observations of others, including myself on occasion, I think a couple of things have gone wrong in our collective mindset.

1. We are all so engrossed and overwhelmed with the demands and concerns of our own lives, it causes us to overlook that other people also have their own problems and challenges. For example, I know my intentions in life are good… but probably can come across as rude when I am in my own head and in a rush. However, when someone else does something in a way I take as rude or not “the right way”, it is easy to make judgements about that other person. When I act out of judgement, I lose compassion in how I talk to the person. I know I am not unique to this behavior as it is human nature to act this way.

2. We are so quick to be defensive and think the worst of other people when they approach us to change something we are rude and lose sight of the bigger picture of life. For example, I was flying with my husband for a weekend getaway. Despite my ears feeling plugged, I found myself in the bulkhead seats, where my voice bounced off the wall in front of me. Engrossed in conversation with my husband, I inadvertently spoke louder than usual. The flight attendant approached me tentatively, conveying a request for me to lower my voice. Without hesitation, I said “yes”. Wondering who made the request, I glanced behind me and saw an older woman trying to rest with her fingers in her ears. In this situation I could have been offended or stood up for “my right to talk”. However, I was able to acknowledge that I was speaking loudly and could adjust accordingly. I was able to recognize the woman’s request was not intended to be rude; she was merely bothered by my voice. We forget other people have their own stories-perhaps she had medical issues, was stressed out due to a family emergency or was experiencing a migraine. The specifics don’t matter; what does is our ability to recognize that other people deserve respect and compassion even during differences.

Do you notice this anywhere in your life? I want to challenge you to become a change-maker, beginning with looking into your own thoughts and actions.

1. Consider your manner of how are you talk to others- your tone of voice and body language matter!

2. Remember it is not all about you. If someone appears rude, they may be grappling with their own challenges and could use some kindness.

3. When you are accused of making a mistake, weather you think you did or did not, embrace the power of a sincere apology and the humility to seek forgiveness!

If you notice a lack of compassion and respect in your workplace culture, feel free to reach out, I would be delighted to assist you in reinstating these values in your space.

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