Step up with worthiness in your life before stepping into another’s domain.

October 2nd, 2015

“The highest realms of thought are impossible to reach without first attaining an understanding of compassion.”— Socrates

When we knock to be let into the private universe of others, we must first know our intentions in requesting entrance, and, second be aware of our capacity for processing information. Upon being admitted, we must employ respect and care while receiving another’s experiences and feelings.

Some people approach life from a place of deep love and genuine care. However, there are those who are callous, perhaps as a result of operating from ignorance, resentment, or entitlement without fear of correction. While superficiality is acceptable, it is harmful to pretend to be a person of emotional dexterity. Projecting one’s self as caring and nurturing while the opposite is the reality can be a form of emotional assault, especially to those who are survivors on the path toward healing.

Healing is a long-term process that necessitates arduous work across multiple levels to restore one’s human spirit. When we violate people with our callousness, we become part of their demolition rather than their restoration.

Toxic words and actions are akin to probing the wounded with a sharp instrument—it tears, ruptures, and pains the soul. This re-victimization erodes wellness, drains the survivor, and forces an unplanned detour from the path of healing.

As you go through life, there are situations where you might come into contact with people who look or carry themselves in appealing ways. Despite this appearance, they may have survived great hardship. They may have survived childhood trauma, human trafficking, sexual abuse, wars, forcible institutionalization, or other impositions. Had they crumbled under unceasing abuse, humiliation, and cruelty, or had the pain of emotional neglect and violence led them to self-destruction through drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, or depression, they would have slowly faded into oblivion. Most likely, you would not have met them. Very possibly, had you encountered them in their time of need, you would have looked at them with pity. Such pity would only have served your lowest being and made you feel falsely superior.

There may be other times when you ask a probing question and receive an evasive response. When offered a succinct “no comment” or “I do not feel like talking” it is best to move on and let the issue go. The response is likely an indication of deeper issues that the person with whom you are conversing does not yet feel comfortable inviting you to discuss. Alternately, they may simply not intend to open their lives for your casual entertainment. Perhaps they are exhausted explaining the same thing, only to be met with abysmal ignorance. Consider, for example, an instance as simple as someone refusing blueberries (or cookies). It may only be blueberries to you, but to the person politely refusing, there could be a traumatic background story. As a child, they may have been repeatedly attacked each time they desired them, thrown out of the house in the dark by abusive parents, or could have been forced to eat blueberries while being sexually abused. So when you make light, repeatedly, and demand an explanation, you are forcing the person to relive a painful past. The question for you is: from which angle do you become a decent human being?

Dare to embark on a journey of emotional education and give yourself permission to expand your heart. Sometime ago, I encountered an article that spoke of the late poet Maya Angelou. On being raped at age seven, she went silent for many years. It was her way of processing her trauma and pain. 

People have different ways of coping to maintain their dignity in life and silence is one of them.

I have responded similarly to past traumas. In times of anguish, I have become quieter as this helps me cope with pain and loss. When one interrogates me, they suffocate my soul and cause further trauma.

When you live a shallow, one-dimensional life, you will be limited in your life experiences, and incapable of grasping of real life. Coming from a place of openness and sincerity is what allows one to be appreciative of true stories where faith, resilience, and conviction have been relentlessly invested in shaping the personalities of people who, despite once being victims, emerge as brave survivors.

So, don’t judge a book by its cover. And when you attempt to forge a friendship based on what you see in a person’s exterior, ask yourself if you are truly prepared to open the book of their experience. What if their book is complex? Do you have the capacity to comprehend the vastness of that person’s life? Are you a high nutrient seed who has grown to your full potential and is prepared to embrace this person in totality? Or is there a chance that you have remained true to a more meager emotional existence where you are going to harm them through your ignorance and entitlement?

Your interaction is not limited to compassion alone. If you are a person of character and courage, you will practice equality as well. In the mature and dignified space that you create, others, from janitors to couriers and fruit vendors, may ask the same questions of you that you direct to them. However, if you haughtily cruise through life with entitlement, then, immaterial of your desirable status, your capacity will operate like a one-way street that terminates at a dead end.

Respect personal boundaries, and when invited, enter another’s domain with dignity and humility, demonstrating self-respect and worthiness.

Claiming to be well-traveled, well-connected, or well-educated does not define your character or capacity. It simply means you had access to procure, to be a “tourist,” and to read. Traveling with openness and finding connections to your highest purpose while internalizing the thoughts of the wise is what increases your capacity. With this capacity, you will tread gently in your lifetime, and your footprints will be harmonious inspirations for countless others to follow.


“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”

— Dalai Lama