We are always influencing those around us in one way or another. We just might not realize it.
In today’s culture, we are consumed with self. Self-help. Self-serve. Selfies. When does one have time to be empathetic and actually express it through action? Volunteer activities are great but sometimes we overlook the countless opportunities around us everyday.
I remember a recent memory when I joined a group of women to volunteer for a cause close to my heart. Not long after our project begun and we began our committee meetings, two of the women began arguing about how they wanted the fundraiser to be run. One of the ladies wanted to use some of the budget on a more extensive bar. The other thought the money should be spent on a more elaborate spread of food. And this was just one of many of their disagreements.
I watched as they went back and forth and this went on for months. By the time the event came, people on the committee had taken sides. The whole experience became unpleasant and uncomfortable. All along I was thinking, “what about the cause that we were supposed to be working for? What about the children we were supposed to be helping?” It was all lost in ego. This may seem like a simple example, but examples like these happen all the time and they show us how easy it is to lose track of the things that matter. Compassion, the reason we had come together, was a long forgotten idea.
In our “selfie-centered” world where it seems to be more about “look where I am,” or “look at what I’m doing” it can be easy to forget about the people we influence. We may not think about it but we’re always influencing those around us in one way or another. As children we are taught lessons to make sure that no one feels left out, to not show off, and to be humble and generous. But as adults, we often forget about being actively invested in the well-being of others and become focused on our status and the image that others have of us. Our lives have become an act, our devices have become our stage, and no one is truly inspired. But does it have to be this way?
When we were growing up, my mom went out of her way to give us examples of people who were having a rough time. She would challenge us to think of how an acquaintance must feel. She led us to imagine what it would be like to face turmoil. She knew our imaginations would do the rest, and before long we would be overwhelmed with compassion for those we were thinking about and would genuinely want to help. My mother did a good job of giving my brother and I a different set of eyes; eyes that see the heart. For that, I am grateful, and today I try to replicate her techniques with my own kids.
If you’ve ever made it your mission to serve another person beyond the daily routines of life, you know of all of the benefits it creates. You may come to someone’s rescue. You may give another person hope. You, as the giver, may be the one that walks away inspired. There’s no step by step formula, but when your goal is to selflessly take care of those around you, magic happens.
So as we all try to bring a little magic back to our world, here are some reminders of how to live with compassion:
The Eyes of the Heart
- Think like a detective. When someone is angry and says hurtful things, listen to what’s underneath the words. Something might be upsetting them. We are never fully aware of what another person’s circumstances might be. There’s a whole back story we might not know anything about.
- When posting on social media and putting your ideas out into the world, be mindful of how it affects people on a deeper level. Does it better them? Does it encourage them? Taking responsibility of how we affect others with our words and expressions is a form of compassion and we all have the opportunity to do that.
- Start with you. Are you patient and forgiving with your SELF? We often forget that seeing the value in others begins by seeing the value that we inherently have in ourselves.
- Don’t use other people's struggles as entertainment. Leaning in and being an agent of change in just one person’s life can have a ripple effect that goes beyond our imagination.
- Add intentional compassion to your daily practice, and develop this new set of eyes. It doesn’t require much time or energy, but just a little bit could transform normal apathy into a new kind of optimism.
Flank Steak Naan Panini
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- 1 lb flank steak
- 3 cups watercress sprigs
- 1 ½ tsp of Life is a Recipe® Garam Masala
- ½ salt (to taste)
- ½ pepper (fresh ground)
- 1 ½ tsp lemon juice (fresh)
- 6 pieces of naan bread cut in half
- 1 red bell pepper (sliced)
- 2 cup of mozzarella cheese
In a large glass dish mix lemon juice, salt pepper, Life is a Recipe® Garam Masala and avocado oil.
Add in steak and marinate for 1 hour.
Set the oven to a high broil.
Cook for 4 to 6 minutes per side.
Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let is rest for about 5 minutes.
Slice against the grain.
Rub two slices of naan in the glass dish marinade.
Layer slices of steak, and top with watercress, bell pepper and cheese.
Place sandwich into Panini maker and cook on medium high.
Serve and enjoy.