Monday, March 16, 2015


Often the root of discourse in marriage and other relationships is selfishness.  We seek
to please ourselves first, to try and get from the other as much as we can to feed
ourselves.  This is, of course, a recipe for disaster.

Some would say that we are born this way, and maybe so, but regardless, it is possible
to seek another path - that of compassion.  What makes that so hard, however, is that most
of the institutionalized systems, work environments, and cultural norms in our society
support the "me first" mentality.

We are ranked, graded, promoted, recognized, blasted with media promoting satisfaction
through the acquisition of stuff.  What rank were you in
your graduating high school class?  Were you a star athlete growing up in your small
town?  Did you have a date for the school prom?  Is your chosen profession going to
give you the opportunity to purchase all the stuff that will make YOU feel good?
What happens when you don't get the grades, the "good" job, the attractive spouse?
Often anger, repressed or otherwise results, or perhaps seeking pleasure in harmful ways
to self such as alcohol or drugs, or maybe even resorting to porn to satisfy some sort of "I deserve this pleasure and can dominate" feeling.

The competitive nature of our capitalistic economy encourages us to put ourselves first.
This then leads to greed, envy and ambition.  Wherever there are winners there are always many
more losers.  So often this fulfillment of self first carries into our other important relationships -
partner, spouse, sibling, parent.

The opposite of selfishness is compassion which is something so alien in our country.
It is interesting to note that compassion is the foundation of most religions and spiritual traditions - treat others the way you wish to be treated.

This is certainly no easy task and all the harder when we have been brought up in a culture that sends the opposite message.

I think it is possible to work toward being more compassionate - through growing one's faith, ignoring many of society's messages, being more aware of every word that you speak, strengthening families, and creating a society that encourages the creative genius in each of us.

While I certainly can't change the world, I can change myself.  For today I will strive to
stop and think before I speak.  Am I loving, blessing and encouraging with my words and actions?


  1. Compassion grows as you take your eyes off yourself and focus them on others. In a marriage it begins the moment your heart opens, truly opens to that special person. Been conscious of how we treat others will make the seed of compassion grow and flourish.

  2. thank you! compassion is the path to happiness.

  3. Wise and beautiful words. I think changing oneself can make such a huge difference to the world.

  4. So very true and very well written. Society is infinately selfish and compassion and kindness are almost laughed at. These values are the only way to happiness though, true happiness. Pam

  5. I couldn't agree more. Didn't the Dalai Lama say, "If you want to be happy, be compassionate; if you want others to be happy, be compassionate"? Easier said than done sometimes in a world where self-gratification is rewarded so amply.

  6. Glad to read this today. I have been very angry with the Mister for tearing my car seats yesterday. I work very hard in a job I don't really enjoy to support our farm. I purchased my car, the third new one in my more than 45 years of driving, to see me through retirement. And, he tore the seats moving things from his office because he is retiring (and I am not, which is another cross of mine these days!) because he can't keep any of his vehicles running. He knew the equipment was too heavy for the seats, but shoved it in anyhow and tore my seats. In reading your post, I feel pretty foolish. It is, after all, just a thing. But, I have invested a lot of myself in it. Stupid. Really stupid.

  7. You hit the nail right on the head. The reason behind so many years of unhappiness at our house was for sure selfishness. We have to give all the glory to God for changing our hearts because unless there is a change on the inside it is not possible to manifest it daily to those around us.

    My daughter told me that when they were preparing to move to China to be missionaries that once they had sold, given away or thrown out all of their belongings it was as if they had no identity since Americans are so ingrained to value our stuff. Interesting thought and so sad that we are what we own in our country. This is something that my husband and I are really working to move away from; the identity of stuff.

  8. I recently read a very, very moving book called The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. It is such a great book and touches on everything you've posted about here. Well, doesn't just touch on, it is what the book is about. :) Compassion, giving, and our attachment to our stuff and how Jesus wants something so much different from us. Extremely thought provoking. If you read the description about it online and would like to read it, I'll send it to you. :)

  9. Compassion must start with ourselves. The desire for more, more, more comes from a sense of incompleteness, judgment, of ourselves. WE have to keep up with others! WE have to fit in! WE have to ... Seeing ourselves as Enough is the beginning of compassion. Once we extend that to ourselves, we can extend it to others...

  10. I've been following along and send many healing thoughts and wishes for your crew. What an intense time for you all, in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your thoughts as you navigate life. Now spring will come and bring fresh flowers and a wonderful out-breath.