What The Hell Happened To Our Compassion?

Jerry Kiesewetter
Jerry Kiesewetter

What the actual fuck is happening to our compassion? I have noticed a slow leak over the past several months, but like whiplash to my heart, it has almost disappeared entirely overnight. Where has it gone, and what can we do to bring it back?

I am a highly sensitive person (HSP) and empath – there is no wonder I am feeling the enormous weight of all the negativity I am seeing and reading. It is surrounding me, choking me. I woke up the morning after the global Women’s March and couldn’t help but think – is this our new normal?

Like an overnight sensation, people’s opinion on things and need to voice that belief seemed paramount over any type of compassionate understanding or healthy human conversation. With the lack of empathy, the criticizing and attacks, and decay of kindness in our media – especially the kind coming from the keyboards of many of my own friends – I am taking a break. I am taking a break from hate.

I vow not to involve myself or my words in any thread that involves harmful or threatening confrontations.

Let me be clear – I will not hide away, or stop sharing my journey on social media because I believe that love and kindness, compassion and humanity truly do conquer the repetitive hate discourse that’s blanketed this country – but I also believe that those who remain in that negative narrative and space, and constantly share that with others, are not making any progress in their growth game and are actually building a digital wall of condemnation around themselves. And I refuse to be part of that.

Why is it so difficult to show compassion? Another question might be, why must people immediately jump to being so hurtful, condescending, to make people feel inferior? The past few days, people can’t even peacefully protest on social media without feeling threatened. And by protest, I mean even make a statement that clearly wasn’t written to invite argument or ‘alternative truth’.

Hell, the largest protest and rally in history, where more than 600 cities in this country, and millions and millions of people across the world came together sending messages of unity to defend human rights of all divisions and beliefs – for many only provoked rage and hate as a response. In the most simplistic form, the marches were a beautiful reminder of what We the People can come together and do together – that We the People is not simply a preamble, but a collage of identities with a body of beliefs rising up From Sea to Shining Sea, saying that social justice and human rights will not be sacrificed or limited only to those who can afford them.

The message in my mind was pretty clear – we have come too far and worked too hard for our rights to be taken away – and when rights are threatened (which is exactly what is happening), rights that defend the color of our skin, protect the lady parts between our legs, create policies that prevent us from living in poverty, help people like me pay back student loans, allow for a diverse melting pot of amazing humans, or allow mother earth to grow instead of deny climate change (just to name a few) – when these are threatened we must rise up.

If you disagree with me on anything that I post, please remember there is absolutely no need to be mean and disrespectful, there is a difference between disagree and disrespect. What I have seen, even by some who call me their friend – is hate speech or using words like rape, murder, fuck bitches, whiny babies. Let me get this straight – you think those words are going to win me over? You think those words are words that should be part of the current political disposition? You honestly believe that you sound intelligent by using words like that to defend your opinion?

I cannot speak for anyone else, but what you are actually doing to me – is scaring the shit out of me. I am deeply moved by those that choose the high ground when communicating with one another, especially those with differing opinions, I love those humans so much – but for those who have chosen to abandon compassion and kind behavior – you scare me, and you have more than disrespected my voice as your friend – you have crossed a line.

I love you no matter your political opinion – but I will delete your comments and unfriend you if they are threatening to anyone or have an ulterior motive. If opinions alone insight so much intense dislike, then we have a problem – that’s not how this works. I don’t pressure or force my opinion on anyone – and I can be both conservative on many issues and also be a modern hippie at the same time – that is what being American is all about.

I know myself well enough to know what my limits are, what I am able to handle and emotionally embrace. I know that self-care must be a priority when you feel so connected to people, especially when my main purpose on social media is sharing my personal journey in order to inspire and lift burdens on both sides.

When the burden becomes too heavy to carry however, it is time for a different approach – one that takes care of your sensitive heart, but that also allows you to remain strong enough to share your voice in what seems to be a climate of lost compassion.

I read this somewhere, forgive me for not remembering, but whoever wrote it – I want to be your friend. They wrote “I give a fuck. I give lots of fucks, actually. I am basically a prostitute of feelings.” Not only is this a big part of my truth as an empath, it reminds me that I wish people would wash their souls clean and start focusing on what rebuilds, restores and harmonizes with the good that could come if we put all that energy into something other than what separates us. The only thing I have the energy to focus on is love and what impacts my Growth Game. “Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity” these days – So what do we do?

How do we cope when, for many of us, the world is one big emotional trigger – Answer: We wage the struggle by being our best selves, rise above and crusade. So I focus on what heals me, what I consider self-care and therapy, and allows me to be strong enough to continue loving humanity no matter how ugly we get. I get tattooed, I paint, I write, I road cycle and run, I puppy-love, I mentor, I dance, I cook, and I use the media as a platform for good, trying to show what compassion and healing looks like.

I embrace the diversity of hope and resilience across any barrier. The weight of hate is exhausting, and what’s worse is the constant chatter that surrounds it. Talk about love, talk about impactful advocacy, and be kind to each other. Use your voice to influence what’s hopeful, because our world is too focused on the things and people who want to take that voice away. Make your little world bubble impenetrable to anything but love. TC mark

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