1. a feeling of distress and pity for the suffering or misfortune of another, often including the desire to alleviate it
Source : www.dictionary.com
There, it’s the what the dictionary tells us about compassion. But in life, things are not as simple. Someone who appears to be very compassionate, may not be so in practically applying it and vice-versa.
In one of my first jobs, the ones when we have a high sense of what is right and wrong, there was a theft in the manufacturing unit I was working in. It ran into a few lakh rupees. During the time, my manager was a real tough guy. He was very strict and ensured we follow all the rules. He would fire us at the slightest mistake made. As a result, we were a bit intimidated and scared of him.
Back to the theft, there was an initial investigation that happened, and the office security were able to nab the thief. The thief was the sweeper in the company and a quiet guy who would be just going about his work. Someone, we used to talk to everyday. We were shocked and were angry at him.
‘Just see the sort of person he is. How dare he try to rob us? Traitor, thief.’ I said to the manager.
Then my manager said something, which I still remember. He said, ‘But, we do not know the circumstances that forced the guy to rob. Maybe, he needed the money for some genuine reason and was not able to raise. We have failed him. We were not able to provide him the environment where he could have just asked us. I am sure we could have helped him.’
Later, I came to know that the sweeper was removed from his job. But my manager and another friend of his, helped him in his immediate financial need. And he never even talked about it to anyone. We came to know through his friend.
That day, the opinion about the manager changed for us. He was no longer the intimidating or scary figure. But we respected him more than anyone.
Wish there are more like him.
And for me personally, it was a lesson in compassion. And every time, I hear of something similar, I wonder at the circumstances that lead the person to commit the misdeed.
This is my contribution to the unique global movement called 1000 Voices for Compassion. Today, the 20th February 2015, over 1000 bloggers worldwide are publishing posts about compassion. It is an effort to spread goodness and compassion in a world torn by strife and violence. Spread the love using the hashtag #1000Speak. Join the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion group on Facebook.