The Little Things

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

              When I think of compassion, I think of helping people and showing care to those who are in need.  The actual definition of compassion is the empathy of people who are suffering and it is a major factor in how we define love. I would describe myself as a compassionate guy, but I wanted to try new tactics in my normal behavior to show compassion. One of the ideas that I focused on was talking to people that I observed through the year who are really quiet and sit alone. I also attempted to spot people who seemed down and asked if they were okay and needed to talk. The simplest act I tried was doing favors in the cafeteria such as asking if anyone wants more to drink, if they wanted cookies, or if I could take their plates up. There is a student in my building who is always alone and I never see him really talk to anyone. He also sits in the cafeteria alone everyday so I felt bad for him. So on my day of compassion I decided to attempt a conversation with him. His reaction was a little awkward to me because I said, hi to him and he just walked right past me and did not say a word. Then I attempted again and asked if he knew what time the crawfish boil was at and he turned around and actually responded. I tried to engage in more conversation, but he didn’t really seem very social so he turned around and I said, “I’ll see you later bro.”

            My second strategy seemed to work in my favor because I actually got some good reactions. One of the players on the soccer team’s grandfather had passed away last week and he had just come back to practice, so I wanted to show him compassion. I usually do this anyway but I walked up to him and gave him a hug and told him I prayed for his family. He really seemed to appreciate my behavior and it made me feel good inside. Another example in this situation was one of my girl-friends I noticed was very stressed because she didn’t want to talk to me. She was actually really stressed about her abstract exam that she was going to take and she told me she knew she was going to fail it. I told her to take deep breathes and say a prayer, because I know she is Catholic. Then I told her some ideas like to study with the kids you know do well in the class or go to the CAE. Although my advice only gave her a fake smile, I think it helped a little. Another example is one of my friends whose ex-girlfriend just happens to be in our class just broke up with him 2 weeks ago. I could tell he was down and so I tried to comfort him and give him the good ole guy speech that you’re a free man now and now that girls know you are single that they will be flocking. This made him smile and it made me feel good to put a smile on his face. Then I proceeded and told him this weekend we would go out together and wingman for each other. This seemed to comfort him in my opinion or at least I hope.  

The last tactic I used was the most unlike me because I never take others plates up or ask if anyone wants a drink. When I asked if anyone wanted a drink, my friends didn’t really think much of it and were actually happy at the thought. There was a similar reaction to when I asked if anyone wanted cookies and of course they said yes. The funniest one to me was when I asked people if they wanted me to take their plates up when I went to take my own up. I could just see the confusion in their faces like, “oook…what the heck.” One of my friends told me that I seemed like I was in a good mood. It’s funny how just because I ask if I can do simple favors, they associated it with being in a good mood.

            I like the compassionate me better because it is who I am. I believe I am this way because I am a mama’s boy at heart and I am very much like her. I don’t see very much cost to being compassionate because I don’t see how helping someone could be wrong in any situation. The benefits I believe by far out way the cost because when you are in need of help and need to talk, people will be there for you as you were for them. If people want to be more compassionate they need to practice empathy and look for signs of suffering in their surroundings. One can also make it a goal in their routine to show compassion at least once a week. Just by taking social psychology, one can learn the situations in which people are in need of compassion such as losing a family members or struggling to find social networks. By showing compassion, people can help others in situations like these. In the future, I do not see myself changing in my compassionate actions because it is what I have been taught and what I will always do. The only one I do not see myself doing is taking up my friends plates. If our society could make it a goal to be more compassionate, this world would definitely be a better place.