Imperfectly Practicing Compassion

Last year I read the book “Slow” by Brooke McAlary. I was hesitant to pick up the book just because it seems so “trendy” right now to talk about slow living and minimalism and cutting out the clutter. And I haven’t been in the mood for trendy.

But this book was a pleasant surprise, and I’m so glad I finished it. Throughout it, the author poses a number of questions for the reader to answer. Since I’m not really feeling my muse today, I thought I’d take a stab at one of those questions: What is important to me?

There are so many things that are important to me. First on that list is my family and living and loving every single second with them. It is important to me that they know how much they are loved — and how much Mr. B and I love each other.

On top of that, though, I want them to know that even though we love each other, it doesn’t mean we always agree or we always get along. It is important to me that they know that “Love” means loving each other because of our differences, not despite them. I want them to appreciate, embrace and love differences and not just tolerate them.

(That word. “Tolerate.” It’s always been a thorn in my side. But that’s a post for another day.)

What’s more, especially these days, it is so important to me to teach my kids kindness — to themselves and to others. It’s hard because so much of what our kids learn is not in what we tell them but in what we show them. They learn from our examples, so I need to teach them kindness and generosity and openness by being (more) kind, (more) generous and (more) open.

And, quite frankly, some days that’s hard. The world can be an ugly place. And that ugliness has a way of creeping into every crack and crevice of a person. I mean, I like to think of myself as a compassionate, loving, generous person. But some days the routine of just getting through life takes over and I forget that the world is less ugly when I’m more kind.

Practice Compassion Graphic

That’s why I chose “compassion” as my word for the year. (Here I go, being all trendy with a “word of the year” when I just got done telling you I’m not in the mood for trendy. I’m nothing if not consistent. 樂 ) 

Anyway … I wanted a daily reminder to be kinder to the person in the mirror and the rest of the people inhabiting my little corner of the world. It’s worked to have that peeking out at me when I look at my computer screen or look at the word written at the top of my monthly goal tending list (thank you PowerSheets).

It certainly hasn’t been a cure-all, though. I still catch myself thinking unkind things about myself and not being as loving toward others as I know I need to be. I can do better and I plan to keep working at it. I’m still a work in progress in making sure my actions are speaking as loudly as my words and the motivational quotes I’m so drawn to.

I guess, in summary, it is important to me that my kids know that love always remains — that they loved for exactly who they are, exactly as they are. I also want them to know that a little bit of compassion goes a long way.

By watching me, I hope they also learn that we’re all imperfect and we all can do better. And do better we should.

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