Are people that have suffered the most, the most compassionate
Hello readers. I have to admit I am not a big fan of internet quotes. I think they often come across as sugary sweet or a little bit patronising. Even when the quote was originally spoken with love and feeling, seeing them splatterd all over facebook and to a lesser extent twitter still annoys me.
One quote that particularly got my attention recently was this.
On the face of it this is a beautiful sentiment, but as someone who has suffered a fair amount of shite over the years, I think its over simplistic at best. When I thought about what its saying, it appears (to me) to make two big statements.
Firstly that all people who have suffered hardship and suffering become kind compassionate people and second that people cannot be kind and compassionate without having suffered.
Can People Be Compassionate Without Ever Having Suffered Hardship?
The last line of that quote “beautiful people do not just happen” infers that people need to have suffered hardship to be extraordinarily compassionate.
It can be said that nearly everyone will go through some sort of difficult times or will have hardships of some sort during their lives, and to some extent this is certainly true.
If asked, most people can name a time or two in their lives when things have been tough but not everyone who has done so would say that they have truly ‘suffered’.
I know many people who have lived fairly normal lives. They have never experienced trauma, illness, or poverty and yet they still have beautiful hearts.
They put themselves out for other people often at the expense of themselves. They see other peoples pain, and although they may not have experienced similar themselves, they still sympathise and do what they can to help ease that pain.
In my own line of work, we often say that a carer is something you are, rather than simply a job. That desire to care for people is something that is innate to some people, and not something that is shaped by experience.
Are All People Who Have Suffered Hardship Compassionate?
I have said before in my blog that I love Twitter because it has allowed me to connect with people who understand what its like to be a bit mental. These people, my online friends are beautiful people and they are people that have and are suffering from anxiety, depression and other mental health problems. But I would not say that their kindness and compassion are a result of their struggles. It has certainly shaped their understanding and empathy yes, but I honestly believe they would be just as kind and compassionate without their individual struggles.
Whats more, not everyone I know who has had a hard life has turned out to be a beautiful person. Hardship and struggle can make people bitter and twisted. I was married to a man who had some bad things happen to him in his life. This left him with a sense that the world owed him. Anything and everything that he did wrong in life could be excused by the fact that he had a bad start in life.
Even when hardship doesn’t turn someone ‘bad’, it is certainly no guarantee they will develop a compassionate disposition. The following article was written by a woman who use to suffer from depression. I think the title of the article tells you everything about her attitude towards those who are still suffering from the illness If You Want To Beat Depression, Do What I Did Just Get A Grip.
I have personally encountered this attitude many times. People who manage their depression and/or anxiety so therefore think everyone else should be able to do the same. These people are worse than those who naturally lack compassion because they hold themselves up as proof that people should be able to get over it, and people who aren’t doing so are simply not trying hard enough.
Maybe I am wrong for viewing this quote as something less than positive?
Maybe you are wondering why I have spent my time writing a post about something as insignificant as an internet quote when I could have as easily just passed, and probably you are right.
But these quotes are designed to make us think, and this is where my thoughts led me.
Are you a fan of quotes like this? Do you think I have over thought this one?
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