Compassion is free

Compassion is free

Life can be hard. And other people are often facing harder challenges than we can even imagine. The simple act of compassion costs nothing, but it gives people hope and reminds us that people are essentially good. Like the wonderful story I read today about this refugee family in Canada, or the warm fuzzy feeling I got from watching The Secret Life of Pets today.

Maybe it’s even just simply holding back our judgment of someone we do or don’t know. We can never really know why people say things or do things that are unacceptable or upsetting to us. Withholding judgment can feel hard and unnatural, but maybe easier over time.

And don’t watch that pets movie if you’re barely holding yourself back from getting a pet – it will push you over the edge into happy pet ownership!!

Happiness and the Need to Avoid Comparison

There's no comparison in happiness

I realised a few years ago that I had somehow stopped comparing myself with other people and how much it contributed to my overall happiness. The realisation came when I was talking with a friend who could not stop comparing herself to others, how sad it seemed to make her, and how I found myself explaining this thing I had not consciously realised until that point.

The thing is, there’s aways going to be someone taller, more well-read, with a better job or whatever, than ourselves. That’s life. But making these comparisons only serves to build unhappiness in ourselves, since we can never win this invisible, unending competition. So I think it’s better not to take part.

Two things:

  1. We can never assume to know what anyone else is going through or has been through to get where they are.
  2. Those pangs of jealousy when you hear about someone else’s great success, are better funnelled towards recognising your own desires and working towards them.

As an expat, foreigner, “outsider” living in China, I often find my otherness to be very freeing. From my outer-shell, I appear so very different that it is impossible to fit in (at least physically). I still struggle sometimes with feeling like an outsider, but it has helped free me from the expectations of fitting in and following society’s expectations. And it’s easier to listen to your own heart when the hundreds of voices telling you how to be have been dulled down to a whisper.