There needs to be more compassion, less criticism

Published on Thursday, 3 July 2014 00:47 - Written by Christine Baker Powell Guest Columnist

Are you mindful of those around you? I have served on two juries and observed how others respond to someone that is on trial, innocent until proven guilty?

Yes, as it should be. On one of those juries, there were two people who caused us to spend hours debating the innocence or guilt of this person when it was clear the video proved guilt for one offense and the other being pure speculation.

There were no facts to prove this person’s guilt for the second offense. They were certain this man was guilty based on their opinions of his appearance and “looking guilty,”

My response being, “How would you feel if that were your family member or a close friend, knowing that you are being judged solely on speculation not facts?”

We might not always know the truth. However, there were not enough facts to support a guilty decision.

Maybe there are those who have been convicted unfairly due to opinions, false accusations or lack of compassion.

My point here is not bash an imperfect system, people or the world we live in but to bring awareness to others to be compassionate.

I have been guilty of judging someone based on my emotions or feelings of hurt. However, we have not walked down their path or know what has caused them to be who they are.

Showing compassion does not mean we should allow others to do us wrong or even understand or agree with their behaviors. What it means for me is I have learned to never assume and look beyond what has happened.

What if it were you or someone close to you? The criticizing and complaining that goes on toward others throughout social media saddens me and has become distasteful, because those that do it have a mask to hide themselves.

Would you really say that in person? Are you brave enough?

I know how it feels to be judged based on one action that changed my life, and because of this it turned out to be one of my greatest joys. What is really needed is support and unconditional love shown to others.

I can attest through this experience that I have become a very strong person, but I might have been even stronger if the right responses were given.

How often do we know what battles are going on in a person’s world? We really don’t.

Let’s respond with compassion, to stop and think first before we speak harshly about others’ sufferings or misfortunes.

The experience of compassion toward a single individual does shape our actions toward others.

The compassion we feel is not solely a function of what befalls them: If our minds draw an association between a victim and ourselves — even a relatively trivial one — the compassion we feel for his or her suffering is amplified greatly.

Try being compassionate more often. You might be surprised by the results.

Christine Baker Powell is a Tyler resident and frequent YES! contributor. Submissions for YES! may be sent to