Compassion and Competition – Why Have People Begun To Confuse Them?

They say it’s a dog-eat-dog world. It is true. But the fact that this competitiveness extends to not only careers, but also emotional capacities is something to think about. Compassion is disappearing at an alarmingly rapid rate. “My problem’s worse,” they say, without a word about anything else. How do you expect to live in such a world, one devoid of compassion? In such cases, it feels better to live and remain alone than to maintain company that shoots you down without a trace of empathy. After all, what is the world without empathy? An empty, dull sphere is all.

But why does competition have to mean the death of empathy and compassion? When we are together in the ace, why can’t we support each other and come up to break the surface rather than stay under and bring the others down? Why has it come to the point where we have to best (for lack of a better word – oh the irony!) others even in our sorrows?

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Picture Courtesy: Camilo Diaz, World Photography Award Winner, worldphoto.org

It’s true what they say. In times like these, we engage in conversation to respond, not to understand and empathize. We hardly absorb what the other person is saying before we go off: “Yes, all that’s fine but listen to what I’ve got to say.” It is as though we hardly register what they are saying, give them the amount of time we feel appropriate (or not), and jump in again.

Why, though? Is it so bad to have to hear another when all we expect is for the other to do the exact opposite of what we’re doing? This competition, this unnervingly rude and harsh contest between egos will be the end of us one day.

This has happened to me on multiple occasions – this competition to one up sorrows and problems. “If you think you’ve got it bad, you should listen to what I’ve got going on.” Isn’t there a thing called perspective? Like someone’s rose-tinted glasses could be another’s Kryptonite? If it all comes down to ‘the grass is greener on the other side’, then what hope do we have for humanity?

It also comes down to hypocrisy. If we hardly listen to what the person we’re having a conversation with is trying to say, isn’t it unfair of us to expect them to listen to us? Them allowing us to steamroll them while we don’t let them get a complete sentence in – doesn’t that reek of hypocritical smugness?

The magnitude of the involuntary competition that so many people participate in – most of whom do so subconsciously – is huge and it rankles big time. If only the world were inching closer to shovel love into the gaps, we’d be far better off. But the hard truth is, the gap only widens with every passing hour, every passing minute. And the worst part is, there are so many who are merely willing to go with the flow.

Can we not do something about it? Can we not bring us together again? Stir emotions for the greater good?

If the people desperate to see the gaps filled come together, there could be a chance. A chance where we all live peacefully, content enough in our own skins not to compare our sorrows with those of our neighbors’ and belittle them with all we’ve got.

This blog post isn’t powerful enough to bring a sweeping change – far from it. But maybe sometime in the future, I will see it as the stepping stone that helped me see straight, that helped me structure my thoughts and start something – a spark that ignited a whole beneficial forest fire!

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Picture Courtesy: npr.org

 

P.S. Months ago, this concept had first hit me with a force that left me reeling. Then, as like now, I put my thoughts into words. But those words made up a poem.

This poem that I’m really proud of!

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