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Finding Compassion in Drama

December 18, 2013

By Lori Hanson

Are you sick of people yet? It’s getting close to the holidays and everyone is moving at a faster pace than normal. People don’t read things slowly enough to get all the details. People forget to tell you they cancelled a meeting, and you drove 90 minutes in horrible traffic to get there. People thought they had told you plans had changed for the big meeting you were preparing the proposal for…that you stayed up all night to finish and just found out now isn’t due for two weeks.

The person at the store you called said they had the toy in stock and put it aside for you, but when you arrived they didn’t have it and were all sold out. You thought you had all the Christmas visits nicely planned out to see multiple families only to find out that dinner was changed at house visit #2 and that causes a ripple effect for the rest of your day. You’re feeling the pressure aren’t you?

If you drive anywhere near a mall you’d better look three times each way before turning because three-quarters of the people there aren’t paying attention to what they’re doing. Stupid auto accidents occur this time of year because people are not tuned in to driving. They are distracted and will barge right through the intersection or stop sign and hit someone. It’s annoying…people can be really annoying.

What if you were the one who brought a different approach to the places you go, the people you talk to and the family members you interact with? What if you realized that people who act pissy and bitchy and yell at you are stressed out and haven’t yet realized how to be compassionate to other humans? Some people just think the only way they can get your attention is to be rude, talk down to you and attempt to make you feel like crap. Guess what? You don’t have to accept the shit they are slinging around!

When you’re around someone who appears to lack the compassionate gene, take a few minutes to consider how you can approach them. How can you talk to them to get them to stop and consider that:
A – it probably isn’t as bad as it seems
B – people are human and mistakes will happen
C – if they laugh it will lighten up the load a bit

One of the most embarrassing snafu’s I had was when I lived in California. I had been traveling a lot and I just came in from speaking at a conference. I arrived home around 8 p.m. and had a flight out the next day at 8 a.m. I “had it in my head” that my flight left Burbank the next morning and I didn’t look at the boarding pass to confirm it. So when I arrived at Burbank to catch my flight and none were headed to where I was going I thought I was dreaming. Then I looked and—it was leaving from LAX!

If you know anything about LA, you know there is lots of traffic. I did my best to try to get to LAX before my flight left, but I didn’t make it. I had to call and explain what a dweeb I was to the people who were picking me up for my meeting. If I had taken all of that in under my skin it would have hurt for a long-ass time. But I decided to laugh about it and just tole them I’d been traveling a lot (true) and didn’t know which end was up and that helped reduce the embarrassment. What can you do? We are human, we aren’t perfect, we mess up.

So the next time you see someone who is all caught up in drama and making a big deal out of something that doesn’t have to be a major life event—cue the compassion and cut ’em a break. It will go along way to alleviate your stress as well.


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