Small acts of compassion can make a difference. You probably agree, but if not, just follow the popular Twitter hashtag #1000Speak to see the diverse ideas for compassion that bloggers around the world are urging today.
It all began with author Yvonne Spence, writing on her blog, when she urged us to share stories of compassion on February 20 with a call to action:
“How cool would it be if we could get 1000 bloggers on the same day to write posts about compassion, kindness, support, caring for others, non-judgement etc.? We could call it 1000 Voices For Compassion.”
Coinciding, intentionally, with the annual World Day of Social Justice observed by the United Nations since 2009, this day of compassion is an opening for bloggers, and all of us, to contemplate what it means to be compassionate, and how to practice it.
I think of 1000 Voices for Compassion as a day of paying it forward. It’s something I try to do every day, but reminders help. And just as days like today command my attention, they grab those who haven’t thought much about compassion; in fact, they encourage us to think very deeply about compassion. It’s a quality that often seems to be in short supply in today’s world.
It’s easiest to be compassionate with those we love and care for. It’s not quite as easy to find compassion for strangers, and that’s where 1000 Voices can motivate us.
Compassion, for me, is akin to empathy, and that leads to suspending judgment. Writing on Goodreads, Traci Lea LaRussa sums up my feelings about judging others:
“Judge tenderly, if you must. There is usually a side you have not heard, a story you know nothing about, and a battle waged that you are not having to fight.”
—Traci Lea LaRussa
Perhaps it’s the storyteller in me, but when I observe behavior I’m inclined to judge, my mind is trained to go instead to the circumstances that could have led to someone’s actions. In my imagination, there could be so many cataclysmic events that prompted the behavior I’m judging. Thinking those through lead me to empathy, and from there, to compassion.
I welcome the daily reminders I get to suspend my judgment, since they help me find my way to compassion. I’m grateful for 1000 Voices because it’s prompted me to reflect on deeper ways of finding compassion with the motivation to write about it. Writing about how I feel is my favorite way to figure out how to feel. And today, I’m feeling compassionate, and trying to act on that. ♣