In our world which is increasingly divided along political, religious, cultural, and lifestyle lines, it’s becoming more and more important for us to find ways to bridge those gaps and come together as a united human family, as united communities and neighborhoods.
And I truly believe compassionate kindness is the key to making that happen.
I know you may wonder if compassionate kindness, as nice as it sounds, can really going to solve the deep-seated issues that divide us?
I don’t have an easy answer for that. But I do believe that if we can see others with more intentional compassion and kindness, it can go a long way toward helping us find common ground by breaking down those barriers that divide so many.
I believe compassionate kindness is simply living the Platinum Rule by treating others the way they wish to be treated, with empathy and understanding, even (or especially) when we don’t agree with them. It’s about recognizing we can feel compassion for all human beings and treat them with kindness no matter our own unique experiences, beliefs, and perspectives.
Here is a simple Power of Three focus for striving to have more compassionate kindness that can help us overcome the differences that divide us.
- Listening to one another – One of the biggest barriers to understanding each other is simply not taking the time to truly listen. We all have our own biases and assumptions, but if we can set those aside and really listen to what someone else is saying, we might be surprised at how much we can learn and how much common ground we can find.
- Seeing the humanity in each other – It’s easy to demonize people who we disagree with, especially when we see them as part of some monolithic “other.” But if we can remind ourselves that every person is a complex, multi-faceted human being with their own hopes, fears, and struggles, it becomes harder to dismiss them outright.
- Practicing empathy – Empathy is the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and see the world from their perspective. It doesn’t mean we have to agree with them, but it can help us understand where they’re coming from and why they might hold the beliefs they do.
Listening, seeing the humanity in others, and practicing empathy will empower us to find common ground. Even if we have deep disagreements with someone, there’s almost always some common ground we can find if we intentionally seek to discover it. Maybe we both care about the environment, or we both want our kids to have a better future. Focusing on those shared values can be a powerful way to build bridges and find ways to work together.
Of course, none of this is easy. It’s natural to feel defensive or angry when we encounter ideas or beliefs that challenge our own. And there are certainly times when it’s appropriate to stand up for what we believe in and push back against harmful ideas or actions.
But I truly believe that, in most cases, approaching others with compassionate kindness can be a more effective way to create change than simply attacking or belittling them. When we treat others with empathy and respect, we create a space for genuine dialogue and understanding. And in that space, real change can happen.
Next time you encounter someone whose beliefs or perspectives differ from your own, I encourage you to try approaching them with compassionate kindness. It might not solve all the world’s problems overnight, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Like that one starfish that gets tossed back into the ocean, your efforts will make difference for the one.
And for yourself.
Discover something great about yourself. And go build a bridge where you once saw only a divide.
Have a beautiful Monday! I love you, friends!
p.s. Take 13 minutes today to share more compassionate kindness by walking the proverbial mile in the shoes of another person who you have a difference with.
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