2015-02-20

For Your Consideration - #1000Speak

Today is the day. Can you feel it? 

That warm feeling spreading across the internet today. It started with an intimate group of friends (namely Yvonne Spencer & the adorable Lizzi Rogers) and took off like wildfire. It spread here and I'm giving it to you. Don't worry it doesn't even burn when you pee. Much. It's #1000Speak day, the day more than 1,000 writers unite! But separately in our own homes like that introvert meme, to put something into the world that feels in short supply:
Compassion.

Before we can expect to suddenly find compassion just magically flowing along the river of molten evil running underneath society that is the internet, I feel it's a good idea to start with empathy. Or at least consideration.

Relax, you know I'm not going to make you actually do anything, or even promise to be a nice person. That sounds like a lot of work, that I'm not cut out for. 

All I'm asking you to do? Is consider.

Consider another person's point of view. 

Just consider.

Consider that perfectionist at work. The one always half an hour early for work, correcting people's grammar, and pointing out every little flaw while wearing his ironed jeans with the perfectly straight line down the front on Casual Friday. 
If you could go ahead and iron
YOUR jeans, that'd be great.
from voanews.com

Consider whether his parents were extra tough on him. Consider the struggles he may have had in school, which was never as easy as it was for his younger sister. Maybe if he were personable or musically talented, or if anything he ever tried went well, he wouldn't have to constantly double-check every piece of work he comes into contact with, to relentlessly over-achieve. Maybe if his father just once told him he was proud of him, like he does to everyone else, he could give himself a break. He could sleep at night. He could make a marriage work. 

Consider the Clean Freak. The neighbor with the sparkly clean car, parked in her meticulously clean driveway next to her perfectly manicured lawn. The one who obsessively washes her hands, and carries her own hand sanitizer everywhere, and has recurring nightmares about public bathrooms. 

Maybe all that hand sanitizer works like a child's "Monster Spray" to make her feel she is finally taking control of her fears in some small way. Maybe she wasn't sent here by the devil to make you feel inferior. Maybe she's covering up her own feelings of inferiority. Consider how hard she works to paint that perfect picture, and what's she is trying to hide with all of her constant efforts. She must really have something terrible she doesn't want anyone else to see.

For your consideration, think about the woman who is up on all the gossip. She always has the scoop, will be glad to tell you every moment she's witnessed of other people's misery. Because maybe if she fills her life with everyone else's problems, she can distract others and herself from her own miserable life. And all of her personality flaws that are becoming overwhelming, beyond her control, chasing everyone away. 

Consider that woman wearing sooo much makeup, bronzer, or self-tanner she actually looks like a caricature of herself. 
My inner goddess? 
Is also hella ratchet.
naturalhealthandbeauty.net.au

She may not have had a role model to explain that she has more to offer then world than her outer appearance. 

She may not have siblings to tell her how ridiculous she looks. She may not have a good mirror, or any working lighting in her home. Or a vision plan to get those eyes checked.


Maybe it's soul-crushing low self esteem, maybe it's Maybeline. 

Maybe the process of putting all of this on, sometimes again and again before she can go out and face the world, is what she needs to mentally put on a protective barrier over herself. Consider how afraid she must be for the world to see the real her. All of this makes her feel safe, and more comfortable in public. Instead of adding to her insecurity, it would be nice if someone could recognize something positive and tell her about.  

Consider why someone would face actual surgery to change their physical appearance. What could make a person hate themselves so much they would pay the price and risk their lives just to change the way they look? Maybe someone who claimed to have loved them worked very hard to take away their confidence, carefully working at their weaknesses, beat them down over time and made them feel ugly beyond repair.

Consider someone who grew up watching what they were given as role models live that kind of life, bringing others down, instead of supporting each other. Meanwhile they paid so very little attention to their child that said child has to go to great extremes just to interact with them. Just to get them to even talk to her. To notice her, or him.

Consider that child, finally getting attention from some other adult, maybe a teacher. The first person that ever made him feel special. An adult who should know better, but is battling their own demons, so loud and so determined the person gets lost, and can no longer make proper decisions. This child and adult connect in a way neither has experienced before. They get the attention each craves, and start an inappropriate relationship.


Consider the series of unfortunate effed up events that could bring people to do something like that with their life. 
*shudder forever* from abcactionnews.com

Consider a life that has somehow driven a licensed professional to a point where they feel like being with another person is so much better than every other thing in life they risk their job, their very freedom for this relationship. Nothing can keep them from it. 

Except for being locked in jail, that is. Locked up with a lot of other people looking for 'love' in all the WRONG places. Sad life doesn't excuse breaking the law, I'm just asking you to consider what atrocities people must have had to endure to get to these places.

You know that terrible waitress, who has been distracted and inattentive throughout your meal? Before you go all Kate Goslin and demand to 'talk to the manger' 
We know someone IRL who has this cut
and is TOTALLY like this. F'real.
She would get you fired for anything.
from Reddit
or  demand she be fired, consider whether she may be going through some personal turmoil. She may be waiting for a call regarding the health of her father in the hospital. 


Sure there's a chance she may just be a loser crackhead working for cash to avoid the drugsick. But just maybe? 

She is just a regular person having the worst day of her entire life and just need someone to give her a break for once.

Now that I mention it, consider the crackhead. 
from sodahead.com
Really any drug addict/alcoholic, a person so addicted to whatever substance it is they are willing to sacrifice everything, ruin every relationship, even sell their own body and destroy their entire lives just to avoid going through the sickness of withdrawal again. Consider the pain a person must go through physically or mentally to wind up at that place. 

Consider the bartender who keeps disappearing, instead of attentively refilling your drink while you're out with your friends. WTF? Where is she? I need a refill, and she's just gone. Consider that maybe she has to run back and cook food, also, because the deadbeat fry cook is late again. She doesn't want to fill in for the cook, she hates that guy and hates frying bar food. It's smelly, you don't make tips, or even get double pay because if you tell the manager stupid Jay was late again he'll get fired and he has a sick kid he's trying to help care for.

She hates this whole job and this whole place, but she makes enough money to pay her rent by herself, without loud, partying roommates that steal her food. That's more than she can say for all the other 'real jobs' her family keeps trying to make her get. She tried, she did. The copy place paid crap, and that receptionist gig her dad 'pulled some strings to get for her' was a complete nightmare of women hating her, and sleezy guys in suits ogling her and staring at her chest whenever she tried to ask them a question. Only offering to help her with the system if she would have a drink with them after work. Sure, eventually she would get those precious insurance benefits if she stayed, but at the price of every shred of her dignity. And she doesn't even get paid tips. Thanks for the obvious disappointment with my decision though, Dad.

Consider the kid parking  your car, or serving your fast food, or selling magazine subscriptions door to door. Consider what series of events made him go from a person who had parents willing to pay for college, to a person out on his own, refusing any help, working for minimum wage just to be able to make his own decisions, and live life on his own terms. Consider quickly as he decides whether it's worth losing his job to punch you in the face for treating him like less than a person. If you're lucky, he will want to keep the job. Do you feel lucky, punk?

Speaking of feeling lucky, consider before you make comments about someone's weight ask yourself if that person may be going through something. Will your words be helping or hurting? Definitely consider whether that person has access to you when you're sleeping, or if that person prepares all of your meals. 

Consider the writer who rambles on and on endlessly. Consider whether the environment she has to write in is very loud, and she is doing the best with what she has. She is.

Okay, last one. This is more of a favor for me.

Consider the homeless. 

When you see a homeless person, consider them as just that: A person. A person who is most likely struggling with a bigger problem, joblessness, addiction, mental illness, etc. This may just be a hungry person looking for some food. 

Consider the homeless young man with perfectly straight teeth, and very beat-up brand name jacket. He may have come from an upper middle class family, but consider that for one reason or another he's no longer welcome to live with them. His mother may be fighting her demons, moving from town to town not telling him where they are this week. 

He may be one of the 40% of homeless youth (according to study in 2012) that are part of the LGBT community. Imagine that struggle as a teenager, on top of everything else humans go through at that age. Just imagine your teenager, or your niece/nephew/cousin's kid, consider yourself at that age, trying to deal with homelessness*. 

That's all I ask. Put yourself in another's life for just one moment, and consider what that must be like.

Just consider.

People may not always share the reason for their situation, or opinions. They may not even fully understand them. If we just start by considering another person's point of view, where they come from, why they think the way they do, we can begin to understand why their opinions are so different from ours. And just maybe, one day, give them a break.

This post was part of the #1000Speak movement. 


Please feel free to write or share anything you've written about compassion and go to here to link up and join in!

P.S. 

I stand by my earlier promise of not expecting you to do anything, but for your further consideration:

If you think helping people won't work, consider Utah's program for the homeless. They provide shelter for everyone who needs a home. This system is working. In just 8 years, they have cut the number of homeless by 78% and predict to end homelessness. 

By building someone up, giving them a chance, they have something to work for, feel like the human being that they are, and work hard to stay where they are, and keep the chance they've been given. 

56 comments:

  1. Yep! I wonder how close to your heart some of those examples are. We all have those examples that we hope others won't disregard but will look in the eye and offer compassion to. They may look funny or unworthy, but we know the back story.

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    1. ha, almost all of them in one way or another, someone I know/knew, worked with, was friends with, am related to, and/or happen to be. REAL people, real situations. I'm not that great of a writer to create all of these. I wish I were!
      Thanks for reading.

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  2. It's so easy to judge, not so easy to put ourselves in someone else's shoes. Well done, Joy.

    Your last point made me think of a song that goes through my head nearly every time I see a homeless person. I finally found a recording on line, but I had to join some facebook app to do it. It's Christine Lavin singing "Somebody's Baby" and it's worth a listen, or at least I think so. Don't know if this link will work, but giving it a try. http://www.rdio.com/artist/Christine_Lavin/album/Good_Thing_He_Can%27t_Read_My_Mind/track/Somebody%27s_Baby/?apSource=t8392817

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    1. Thank you, Dyanne. I will listen to that song, and probably bawl like a baby. My mascara (from yesterday) has long since run down my face today and stained my shirt. It's all good. What a great reason to ruin a shirt.

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  3. You are the light on a dark highway, shining the truth for anyone with a heart to follow.

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    1. Wow, what a nice thing to say Miss Pattie! Thanks for hopping over and reading, my friend.

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  4. I just wrote a whole comment & it disappeared. Dammit! It went a little something like this: So true & well said. my favorite line tho was "Maybe it's soul-crushing low self esteem, maybe it's Maybeline." I try to remember all this b/c what does it cost to have a little bit of compassion? It doesn't cost a damn dime to be nice. I just wish more ppl could manage it. Also, I'm wondering it that receptionist job was the one w/ the beeper?

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    1. hahahaha no it was right AFTER the beeper job! Except I stayed, got promoted pretty quickly to secretary (just as bad) and kept looking for a better gig. The NEXT gig after that was the crazy company w/all the rich people, the one I wrote "Flip Your Shit" about, where we the hairy guy had the keyboard full o' knuckle hair. The rich people treated me like shit also, but at least they weren't always ogling and asking me out. And you are right, if people just considered the person they're being so rude to as their own daughter or family, you can bet your bippy they wouldn't tolerate it.

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  5. I've been in the shoes of a few of these examples, and I have seen friends and family in others. Thank you for sharing this! We took in unwanted youth when our kids lived with us, and have seen too much of what they have been through. Thank you.

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    1. I have too. Thanks for taking in youth, it's the ultimate gift to the universe. Thanks for reading.

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  6. I love listening to your perspective! I adore the fact that in each of the scenarios that you put forth, you remind us all that they are a person, not their situation! You have such a good heart! Luv ya!

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    1. Thanks, Ginger. It's easy to say, sometimes tough to do, but it's a good start to making the world a little less awful.
      Thanks for reading!

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  7. A wonderful post, Joy! Everyone deserves consideration and empathy! And, I'm glad you put up the Homeless program link so that more people are aware!

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    1. Thank you. Some of these were and still are hard for me. Thanks for reading.

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  8. Ah Joy! Lovely words, lovely thoughts and you're so so right. I think about myself even on my most awful days and most awful months and how others must have seen me. Judged. So so glad to have read this tonight Sweets. And I'm really glad that you put up the Utah homeless program link too - I didn't realize what an amazing job they'd done on reducing the numbers! Awesome!!!

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    1. Same here, Kristi. I've gone through some dark days, and I'm sure people around me were affected by it. Some were rude, some were compassionate, and some times? That makes all the difference.
      I found that really interesting, how much they've reduced the problem. Encouraging.

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  9. Such a beautiful post, and so well written. <3 I'm doing a rotation in an in-patient psychiatric unit right now where I'm mainly working with a lot of people who are addicted to substances and/or abusing alcohol and in the process of detoxing. It's really sad to see how much drugs can destroy lives and families, and I've been doing my best to keep them motivated to quitting for good. Maybe I'm being idealistic, but if I can get even one to do it, it'll be worth the effort!

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    1. Thank you so much for saying that, I really appreciate it. Bless you for the work that you do, it cannot be easy at all. It's hard enough when it's your family, but strangers? That takes the patience of an Earth Angel. You're right, even if they relapse it's important that you are there for them when they need help, when they're willing to do the work, and feel the pain. BLESS YOU.

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    2. Aww, thank you! <3 I'm hoping I can make a difference, even if it's a teenytiny one!

      Glad to "meet" you through the blogging world too! :]!

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  10. Hi Joy, I don't have anything clever to say this time. It's been an off several hours for me. I did read all of this and you are/were the same awesomesauce woman you always are my dear. Please have a wonderful weekend and for spreading the word on compassion my dear :)

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    1. Thanks for reading, no problem on the commenting. I love comments of any kind, and I really appreciate you coming here to read. We all have our off days, I have more off than on lately :) I hope you have a wonderful weekend as well, my friend.

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  11. I am proud of you, lady, because you are WAY more considerate than I am! I am always, always, always considerate--almost to a fault--toward others like the clean freak, perfectionist, waitress, bartender, and others. But the gossip and the teacher? They can suck it. In my opinion, you can only excuse so much. People need to learn to get over their own demons so they don't totally affect someone else's life in such a hugely negative way. But that's just my opinion, and as usual, this is a GREAT post full of no-holds-barred opinions (do people still say that?), which is what I love about reading your blog!

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    1. And I just noticed your line about how it doesn't excuse breaking the law and that we should only consider what made them get to that point...agreed!

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    2. Thanks for reading and for the feedback. It's hard for me to write serious shit, but I wanted to put my spin on things. I want my weird left-of-center perspective to be represented more in the world, so I try.
      I'm totally with you, Shay. As a mother of a teenager, when I see those teacher stories I am BEYOND horrified. Someone has to be REALLY EFFED UP in the brain to be a teacher and date an underage student. I feel like something had to really go wrong for them somewhere along the line. And NO WAY does that excuse that illegal, immoral behavior and if someone tried to do that to my kid? I would be all "Welcome to Fist City: Population: You!" My son's Chemistry teacher his Junior year of high school was fired for having child porn on his computer. I don't know any more details than that, and it really freaked me out. It may have been the only reason my son got a D in Chemistry though, so there's that ;)

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  12. Everyone said everything good already. The best words are taken but I agree with them all. And I love your shinybright heart. Lots. <3

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    1. "The best words are taken" is going to be the title of my first book.

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  13. I have to agree with Lizzi....there is nothing I can add that hasn't already been said. I can say GOD I'VE MISSED YOU! You are my favorite breath of fresh air!

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    1. I've missed you too, Sandy! It's been crazy around here, one thing after another. Guess that's good considering how cold it is outside, we're getting a little Cabin Fever, and it would be much worse if not for all we have going on lately! I hope to be linking up to TToT again really soon!

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  15. A fantastic piece, thank you. :)

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    1. Thank YOU for reading and for your feedback.

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  16. awesome - absolutely right on Consideration is the first step :)

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    1. Thank you. It's a step in the right direction.

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  17. Woah! And I mean that in a good way. All I can say, is that was very thought provoking. Great post Joy.

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    1. Thanks Lily, I'm glad you found it interesting.

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  18. This was wonderful. I don't have anything snarky or sarcastic to say. All I will say is that we do like to make fun of people, but we keep it lighthearted. We don't try to ever make it mean spirited, as I think you can still point out the humor in someone or something without being a dick about it.

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    1. And please NEVER STOP DOING THAT. If we don't laugh at ourselves, we'll go insane. I'm Polish/Irish, was raised Catholic, am a woman who is white and I know more jokes about those things than anyone you'll come across. Humor is everything to me, laugh at things, with people, laugh so you don't cry, it always helps. And you guys are heeeelarious!

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  19. Great post, Joy! Consider more, judge less! love this.

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    1. Well, we still tend to judge sometimes, we're only human. I'm only asking to consider what people may have gone through to get to the points they are at. In some cases, it doesn't really matter, but it helps me to understand people sometimes. Thanks for reading.

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  20. Ah why you gotta go and make me think compassionately before I head into work to be surrounded by the non-Grammy award winning crackheads? Just kidding. You actually sound like our treatment philosophy-- not "what's wrong with you?" but "what happened with you?" Definitely a much better way to look at the world.

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    1. hahaha just trying to understand where people come from. Sometimes there is no excuse. Some people just suck. I like your philosophy though, as a person who has spent a LOT of time and money in therapy, that usually helps the healing process.

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  21. So true Joy. You never know what the other person's story is, what they're gong through, what just happened before your encounter with them. We need to remind ourselves that we're all only human and we're doing the best we can in that moment. Unless, of course, that person is a complete asshole. ;)

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    1. True. Sometimes the best we can do is not punch someone in the face. Like Homer SImpson's elephant, Stampy, sometimes people are just jerks.

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  22. Joy, this might be my favorite post of the day - OK, it is my favorite post of the day. Maybe of the whole thing. This is so important to remember always and I speak from the perspective of having been the person having the lousy day who didn't treat customers as well as I could have. I know how it feels to be the mom of the kid who does things like the constant sanitizer (different, but similarly driven). I just think this is so important that we consider where the other person might be coming from instead of instantly jumping into pissed off and offended - that's thinking only about ourselves, not about the other person and that's where compassion has to be focused - on the other.
    Forgive my frequent dashes and poor grammar here. I'm just spilling because this was so very perfect to read this morning. Thanks.

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    1. Wow, thank you. I have been on one or another side of these situations, some as an observer, and a lot of times you're right. People do get offended, and not always rightly so. Thanks for reading and commenting, no grammar bashing will ever come from this blogger. That's not my thing. I'm just always glad for any reader, and any comment. Thanks.

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  23. This was great! Had to share this on my Facebook page.

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    1. Thank you, MF. I appreciate that. I'm glad you liked it.

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  24. You have an empathetic soul. I love this. If we spent just a little less time judging and a little more time loving, the world would be a better place...

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    1. Oh it's not in my soul, it comes from meeting and/or being related to and/or BEING these kinds of people. When I was younger I judged the crap out of these, and most kinds, of people. As I grew and met REAL people in REAL situations, I learned there is much more to the story.
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  25. Wow, great post! Definitely food for thought. I'm going to read up on Utah's program for the homeless.

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    1. Thank you. I'm glad it was interesting to you. Utah's program is VERY interesting to me. I hope more states look to their example, as ignoring the problem doesn't seem to helping very much.

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