Hardship breeds compassion

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by ardchoille50, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. ardchoille50 macrumors 68020

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    #1
    Due to the way in which I was raised, I wasn't afforded a happy childhood. I always felt this was an injustice until I had a revelation today - the hardships I experienced during childhood helped to create the more compassionate person I am today. With that in mind, I have created a new graphic that can serve as inspiration for anyone going through hardship.

    compassion.jpg

    "Have joy in the knowledge that your future is an unwritten book. Write a good one"​
     
  2. mac666er macrumors regular

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    #2
    Thanks for posting this. This is a nice gesture.

    I myself saw and went through stuff that no one under 50 should actually see. I don't believe in fairness or justice in the sense I don't think this world makes things just. My experience showed me it just doesn't.

    Now having said that, I will mention two things. One person once told me that pressure brings out some amazing things. Like a diamond is only possible through pressure. I agree very much with this statement. Especially now, with hindsight. One possible outcome of pressure is moving to action. Since we are all mac fans, I think Steve Jobs is a fine example.

    The second one is, while taking about this to another person, she told me that true insight and introspection in a conversation I usually observe with persons that had to overcome a significant obstacle. An impediment pushed them to wisdom. I also believe this to be true. Information is never ever free. And insights, wisdom and lessons always come at a very high price. The more important the lesson the higher the price it came for.

    I also hope this serves as support for people in hard times :)
     
  3. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #3
    It sure can, and I'd like to think I became a more compassionate person as a result of my own hardships.

    On the other hand, I've also seen hardship breed a bitter narcissism that only blames and berates others. The sort of attitude that asserts, "I went through the same thing or worse, so you'll survive. And if you don't it's your own damn fault." Hardship sometimes breeds the opposite of compassion.
     
  4. ardchoille50 thread starter macrumors 68020

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    I choose to believe that this is what happens when a person fails to learn anything from hardship.
     
  5. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    I think you've identified the key distinction between the two outcomes. One person learns and grows, while the other regresses and gets stuck. Now, is there a way that we, as a society, can encourage one outcome over the other? An extraordinarily complex question to answer, I feel.
     
  6. ardchoille50 thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Now, that is my kind of conversation! :)
     
  7. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #7
    I think it's an important observation. I suspect that many people actually have experienced it but perhaps don't realize it. Maybe even something as simple as encouraging people to reflect on their own hardships could generate such an awareness. Food for thought!
     
  8. ardchoille50, Jun 21, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016

    ardchoille50 thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Yes, awareness is a prerequisite.. one cannot begin to solve a problem until there is evidence of said problem. Is there a way that we, as a society, can encourage one outcome over the other? I believe so, and I believe the first step involves awareness.. helping people understand that hardship can breed compassion, patience, respect, and more. And, yes, exploring one's own hardships can be an excellent starting point. All of this reminds me of a story I was told some time ago:

    A Cherokee elder was teaching his grandchildren about life.

    He said to them, "A fight is going on inside me… it is a terrible fight between two wolves.

    One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, hatefulness, and lies.

    The other represents joy, peace, love, hope, humbleness, kindness, friendship, generosity, faith, and truth.

    This same fight is going on inside of you, and inside every other person, too."

    The children thought about it for a minute. Then one child asked his grandfather,

    "Which wolf will win?"

    The Cherokee elder replied…

    "The one you feed."
     
  9. Scepticalscribe, Jun 22, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2016

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #9
    Excellent thread, @ardchoille50, a lovely thoughtful topic, and I think @mobilehaathi's remarks well worth pondering.

    However, while I like the tale of the wise and humane Cherokee elder, I think it is more than simply feeding one's inner angels and demons.

    Yes, the demons can be controlled, ignored, locked away, but sometimes, perhaps, people are just too hurt, traumatised and demoralised by what life has thrown at them, and it is not simply an internal moral failure for them to have been unable to rise above that.

    I have worked in quite a few countries that have experienced war, revolution, civil war, insurrection.

    And, yes, while the astounding generosity, thoughtful tolerance and quiet courage of some of the people I met and worked with left me speechless with gratitude for having been privileged to meet them, and learn from them, some have also been twisted and torn by what they lived through, capable of little but replicating this behaviour - whether learned or innate - by imposing the same horrors - a world of fear, uncertainty, unfairness and violence - on others.

    I'm with @mobilehaathi in that I have come to believe that individual self-awareness and desire to address - or acknowledge - such things is not quite enough; what we choose to do as a society, and the values we choose to elevate, respect, promote, - and implement - may also serve to influence outcomes.
     
  10. Huntn macrumors G5

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    #10
    I like how you responded to hardship, but I have to disagree as a blanket statement of fact applied to everyone. People can face all sorts of hardships, negative situations in their lives, including having lousy parents which does not automatically make them compassionate people. There are children, when they become adults, vow to never be like their parents, while other people can't help becoming their parents, abusing their kids, the way they were abused.
     
  11. BernyMac macrumors regular

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    #11
    Nature versus nurture...very interesting topic. A moral compass is probably something that not everyone possess, can you give it or take it from someone?
     
  12. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

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    #12
    I'm not sure this is a nature/nurture conflict (a false dichotomy, anyway), but teaching morality and compassion is something that communities and religions have been working towards for thousands of years.

    I think that what we value, how we teach it, and, importantly, how we respond as a community to people going through hardships can greatly influence outcomes. For sure, there is deep personal struggle inherent to surviving hardship and growing from it, but individuals who are vulnerable will be much less likely to grow and learn if they are left isolated, disenfranchised, etc.
     
  13. Huntn macrumors G5

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    #13
    I believe nature can outweigh nurture, but our good or bad aspects are amplified/subdued based on nurture, and physical security.
     
  14. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

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    #14
    I'm not sure there is always a lesson to learn from hardship.
    I've been going through 6 months of hardship (which I won't go into here). Hell actually.
    But what have I learnt from it?
     
  15. ardchoille50 thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Only you can determine what you can learn from hardship. However, I can tell you that there is always something to learn. I survived 18 years of abuse at the hands of brutal parents and I learned what to avoid when raising my children.
     
  16. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

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    #16
    Nothing to learn from my circumstances I can assure you.
    Only that life is tough, and life is unfair.
    I'm sorry to hear of your horrible upbringing.
    Hope your future is a happier one.
     
  17. AlliFlowers Contributor

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    I, OTOH, came out of the experience having less patience for people than I ever had. (Patience had never been my strong suit.) I expect others to perform to my standards, and refuse to listen to complaints about anything that is non life threatening.

    There are people I work with to whom I no longer engage in pleasantries with in the morning because their responses to "how are you" are always negative - with no good reason. One woman always answered "oh, I'm getting by." I finally told her that if she had a job,a roof over head, food on the table, and that neither she nor her son were in critical care or hospice then she needed a major attitude adjustment.
     
  18. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

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    #18
    I understand your personal experiences have given you a new perspective on life, but that seems rather harsh.
     
  19. ardchoille50 thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Your standards appear to work perfectly for you, I acknowledge that. Kudos to you for living up to your own standards. However, expecting others to perform to your standards, I feel that is unfair. I hold a doctorate degree. Would it be fair for me to berate those who do not hold a graduate degree?
     
  20. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

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    I can so relate to this. Listening to some of my colleagues moan about the stupidest of things.
    The worse complaint of course is listening to people moan they have no money. Then I just remind them that perhaps if they prepared lunch rather than buying out 5 days a week, dinning and drinking out 2-3 nights a week, and perhaps not always having to have the latest and greatest on credit, would mean they would have a bit more savings and a little less debt!
    Youth of today!
     
  21. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

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    I can certainly appreciate getting annoyed with people's endless complaining about (apparently) petty problems, especially in the face of one's own struggles. The gods sure know that I, too, suffer from that problem, but I think this boils down to acknowledging and battling one of humanity's universal faults: the implicit assumption that one's own experiences (and reactions to those experiences) are generalizable to everyone else. This doesn't mean one shouldn't hold others to certain standards, but I think it calls for some amount of malleability. A little mindfulness to reflect on the reality that everyone is shaped by both shared and unique experiences, that we each respond to these experiences differently, and that the full context of one's experiences is rarely (if ever) apparent could go a long way towards promoting compassion.
     
  22. ardchoille50, Jun 23, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016

    ardchoille50 thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Agreed, and this is something that is learned through the study of psychology. I feel it is best if we try to avoid allowing negative experiences from the interaction with one person to spill over into the interactions with other people.

    We must always remember that we don't know what everyone we meet has been through. Something I see as a small issue could likely be "the last straw" for someone else who has had a string of bad experiences and becomes irate when I happen to interact with them. From my point of view, they're blowing a small issue out of proportion, but their point of view would be much different. This, I feel, is where compassion plays an important part.
     
  23. mac666er, Jun 23, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016

    mac666er macrumors regular

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    #23
    Dude, you don't have to be that rational and analytical about it :p What if the other person actually CAN'T think rationally? You really never know what is standing in front of you, even if it seems normal.

    From bad experiences early in childhood, I learned to just don't jump into aggression or to yell at people because I see them doing something "irrational", even if it seems at first that they are trying to insult me. Because you really never know.

    You may think that I just refer to encounters in traffic or the supermarket, but at one job I had, in a top University in the US no less, I was working in research. One day, I had to deal with a lady regarding HR matters. She would always, ALWAYS yell at me. She would berate me. She would make snide remarks or back handed comments. Every single time. Didn't matter the time of day, whether I did everything correctly (or gasp! incorrectly!) or in advance. God help you if you actually didn't know something and needed to ask her. She would treat me (or anyone) like an idiot. But I never jumped into the insult exchange. I know many persons that, at least culturally, would see very wrong for a man to be berated by a woman and the appropriate response would be to at the very least raise their voice. I know some people that would see a trade of insults justified in these cases. Still I didn't speak back. But by the 5th time it really stroke me as very odd.

    So I asked around and eventually I learned that this lady was bipolar. Severely so. And had pushed people around for decades, gradually it seems. But the University felt that it would be compassionate to actually provide her with the job (since she actually did do) and that it provided her for an environment for her to feel useful and sustain herself, etc. And of course this also helped her loved ones since she didn't have to be taken care of.

    So, after learning all of this, I was glad that I didn't insult her, and felt a little bad for her at first. And then I thought, well, isn't all of this a nice gesture from everyone involved? I can assure you she didn't have any malice. After thinking carefully about it, no one involved was choosing bad options. It is just life is, for the lack of better terms, very challenging.

    So, after all of this, I still don't get into arguments, especially with strangers. Be it a traffic incident, neighbours, or any place. Especially on forums on the internet! :p:p Because you truly never know what is going on...
     
  24. AlliFlowers Contributor

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    #24
    Look at it this way. If you'd just had a leg amputated, would you want to listen to someone tell you every day how he stubs his toes every morning?
     
  25. ardchoille50, Jun 23, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2016

    ardchoille50 thread starter macrumors 68020

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    I would look at that as a 50/50 chance that I'd never have to deal with stubbed toes again.

    Im deaf (profound bilateral hearing loss), lost my hearing in the Navy.. and it doesn't bother me when people praise a certain song. I can't use a telephone or hear my children speak, but I look at it as being able to get a good night's sleep when the neighbors are fighting.

    The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.
     

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