joy magnetism: Compassion, joy




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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Compassion, joy

Magnet #369 - No Whining

This magnet sits just above the deadbolt of my apartment door. Every time I leave my apartment, this is the magnet that I see.

I do wish that I'd pay more attention to it. And I'm sure my friends, family and coworkers wish that I'd pay more attention to it as well.

Another daily reminder I have is on my wall at work. I have a picture of an emaciated Ghandi, sitting beside his spinning wheel, reading press reports back in 1946. Just across the top of the picture, I have written the phrase "Compassion, joy."

A little pathetic, huh? That I need a visual reminder to have compassion? Actually, the caveat is this: I have no trouble having compassion for other people's very real problems of every day life. It's when our work problems become our very real problems of every day life that I have a problem.

Ghandi reminds me that the work I do doesn't save lives, or even make the world a better place. I added in the "Compassion, joy" to remind me to be more compassionate when people are in my cube or on the phone with me, complaining - about work issues, about their own work situations, about our agency or about our clients.

Someone once mentioned that sometimes I act as though no one else at the agency does any work - that it's just me working hard, and no one else. I'll be honest. Sometimes? Particularly at 2 and 3 in the morning when I'm at the office by myself? Yes. It feels that way.

It's human nature to believe that others don't have it quite as bad. When in reality, everyone has their own set of challenges and opportunities to deal with, no matter what position they're in. My problem is that sometimes it's hard for me to see past my own set of challenges and opportunities to actually feel bad for other people's situations.

They say misery loves company, and this week, sitting with several colleagues in a hotel room at Innisbrook during pajamatime, I've learned that I have company. That I'm not alone in my own challenges and opportunities, that I'm not alone at 2 and 3 in the morning, and that I'm not alone in feeling overworked, underappreciated, and like no one else is working quite as hard. Which, oddly, makes me happy.

And so that's why I keep Ghandi's compassionate reminder at my desk.

It's advertising - we're not saving lives here. Sometimes, it just feels like we are.

eta:
Mind you, I would like to propose that the world just follow a pajamatime dress code. I'm way more productive in my jammies than I ever am in a stupid monkey suit.

eta2:
Double mind you, I am SO happy I packed appropriate jammies for this business trip. Had I known that coworkers would see me in them, I might have chosen an alternative plaid print and T-shirt.

Ummm, no. That's a lie. And a blatant one at that.

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1 comment:

Gin said...

"My problem is that sometimes it's hard for me to see past my own set of challenges and opportunities to actually feel bad for other people's situations."

I think that's an innate survival mechanism. We have to worry most about our own problems and those of our immediate circle. If we got bogged down in the overwhelming miasma of everyone else's burdens, life as we know it would ground to a halt. Survival, first; compassion, second. Caveman need food before caveman help neighbor with big rock.

On the other hand, congratulations on the appropriate jammies. Sometimes it is the little things.