One of my colleagues shared this during our briefing, “though most of them travel to certain destinations are holidaymakers, but let’s just not assume that.” She continued, “it was just another flight, then I saw this lady, rejected the only meal we were serving. She was looking sad, so I went to talk to her. I found out the reason she traveled this famously holiday spot, was to collect her deceased son’s body. He was involved in an accident…”
Recently, there were 2 fatal Boeing plane crash incidents. As I stumbled across this article, which I could totally relate, and I believe any of the crew (and ex-crew) could too. Then, the mosque-shooting incident in Christchurch, New Zealand, happened. And again, I could relate. Not only because that’s a destination my company flies to, but it was also exactly where I’m heading to two days later. And it reminds me that the world is no longer a safe place for anyone anymore.
Before I continue on with how the world should be a safe place for us, I went for the Christchurch flight. I found out that on this particular flight (and the day before), there are people flying in, because of someone they know, either their family or their close friend, is a victim of that incident.
Upon checking in, our driver from the airport to the hotel, a New Zealander, expressed his condolences to us in case anyone of us is affected by that recent incident, and shared that it is especially relatable to him as one of his close friends would have gone to one of the mosques if he hadn’t been called up to something. From his tone of voice, I could tell he was deeply affected.
Truth is, death happens every day. As inevitable as it is, we will still be affected especially when it happens unexpectedly. We often tie life to many adjectives: life is unpredictable, life is fragile, life is short, life is full of surprises, etc. That is why we constantly remind ourselves to live our life to the fullest. And sometimes, we focused on ourselves so much, we forget that others are (trying or hoping to) living their lives to the fullest as well.
Now, it’s totally ok to focus on ourselves. After all, we have to take care of ourselves first before we can take care of others, right? My question is, how much of taking care of ourselves is enough before we can start taking care of others?
The truth is, everyone is worthy of compassion. The very fact that we are conscious human beings experiencing life on the planet means that we are intrinsically valuable and deserving of care. – Kristin Neff, from her book Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
Kristin also said that self-compassion doesn’t mean that I think my problems are more important than yours, it just means I think that my problems are also important and worthy of being attended to (also in her book). Though the book is about self-compassion, I figured by removing the word “self”, it’s the basic definition of compassion: seeing other’s problems are as important and worthy of being attended to.
So how do we practice compassion? We do not have to be ‘in-their-shoes’ or experience what others experience to show concern or empathy. We can simply acknowledge that their problem(s) exists and that everyone faces challenges. A smiling person does not equal to a worry-free person.
Having said that, I would think compassion is not just towards our fellow human being. We could really show some compassion towards the environment, a.k.a. the one and only Mother Earth we have. Imagine how would the environment feel (if Pixar could make a movie about feelings have feelings, the environment can have feelings too) when we show little or no compassion towards it, and all it has ever done is providing us a place to live?
Life can be unpredictable, fragile and even challenging, but it doesn’t have to be tough. Let’s make each other’s life a little easier by practicing a little more compassion.
Click here to watch Cowspiracy on YouTube for free.
Full documentary available on Netflix. Or you could click here to watch Fashion Factories Undercover by RealStories on YouTube.