You don’t care about me.
You aren’t listening to me.
Leave me alone.
I can’t say the right thing.
If you loved me, why would you do that?
I did this for you and you don’t appreciate it.
This is what it sounds like when adults cry.
When you add the visual, it can look sad, and it could also look scary: loud voices, pointed fingers, aggressive staredowns. Violence. It’s hard to witness adults crying. But breathe and listen closely: Beneath all the cries of human beings is pain.
All people in pain desire relief from suffering.
Sometimes shouting and yelling is the best that a human being can do to relieve suffering. You might not like that news. See if it is fake or true in your experience.
I choose to believe that all human beings are doing the best they can from where they are. And sometimes, that looks and sounds terrible. And you certainly don’t need to stick around for that kind of behavior from anyone.
But you know what? I have a PhD in communication and I have screamed at people. I have ignored people. I have criticized people and made jokes about people that have hurt their feelings. I have acted superior. I have been condescending and mean.
All of that was pain and fear.
Compassion is sympathy and a desire to help others relieve their pain. It is not taking on other people’s emotions or fixing their lives for them.
My friend sitting across from me listening to me cry and staying calm and offering me love and soothing words is compassion. Telling the adults that you love that they need to take care of themselves is compassion. Teaching people to be mindful of their thoughts and the stories they are making up in their minds is compassion. Taking great care of yourself so you can be a loving parent and coworker and friend is compassion.
The work of peace is being compassionate with yourself and others. The work of peace is knowing and teaching that there is a better, less painful, way to think and there is always a better, less painful, way to express your desires and needs.
Gorgeous reader, beautiful human, courageous listener: Many people think that adults should not cry. And yet, they do. And we do. And we have a choice about how to respond to ourselves and others.
What would it sound like if you chose compassion?