Are you living your bumper sticker?

Ivy and Wil piggyback

(Photo of Wil and Ivy…always happy together!)

We’ve all seen the “COEXIST” bumper stickers. When I’m driving and come across that bumper sticker on a car, I wonder if the driver of that car really practices what they are preaching. Such a beautiful idea, to live in peace with one another. Variety is the spice of life, right? But, in the real world, that “co” part of existing can be very difficult. As I make my journey through this life, I’ve found the harder I work on accepting the “co” part of exist, the stronger the other “co” parts of life become. Confidence and compassion. Those 2 things are great at reducing anxiety and bringing peace.

I used to equate compassion with weakness. Was I ever wrong. The most compassionate people who have walked this earth have been the strongest. Martin Luther King, Jr, Pope John Paul II, Mother Theresa are just a few examples. Those people had a deep conviction in their beliefs, but were also compassionate to others. They didn’t need a COEXIST bumper sticker, they literally showed us what coexistence was by their very actions. I’m not against the bumper stickers, its a wonderful thing to promote, but my point is we can influence a lot more change when others witness us living what we believe.

We can not change another person, but do not underestimate the influence of your actions. If we work on ourselves to be compassionate human beings, others will see that and be more apt to give your viewpoint respect. There is an infinite number of possibilities that can be achieved in working with two very different viewpoints if compassion is brought into the mix. Compassion brings with it an openness to understanding where the other person is coming from. It doesn’t mean your viewpoint will change to theirs, or that their viewpoint will change to yours, but there will always be a solution in which you can coexist. Compassion does not allow for roadblocks, its just not its nature. When there is a need to stand up for ourselves, and we come from a position of love and compassion, people will listen. They may never come around to your viewpoint, but I promise that every single time a better solution will come than if you stood up and screamed demands. I don’t know about you, but when someone speaks to me in a calm, confident voice I am a thousand times more likely to listen to what they are saying and give it consideration.

When we come from a place of trying to understand the other person, we can better communicate to them our needs in a way they will relate to. Sometimes, the other person has such a strong wall around them that has been built over time, very little will get through, and all you can do is send them love and move on. You may want to send them off with a swift kick in the butt, but all that does is create hostility. If you send off this person who is unwilling to be open with love, they have no hold on you or your emotions. You have openly and honestly tried to reach them, and if they are not ready to open up and consider what you are asking, its time to move on and let go of those emotions. Unless this person is a true sociopath with no capability for compassion, they will remember the way you treated them with respect, while still being true to yourself. Even though there was no meeting of the minds, they will more likely treat you with respect in any future encounters. I can coexist with that.

Its not easy, accepting differences and sending love to those you strongly disagree with, but I have witnessed and personally learned the value of that, and work to put it into action in my life. Summoning up compassion in certain situations is beyond my capacity, but I keep on trying because every time I have been able to do that, the outcome has been better than I could have anticipated. Compassion has a way of resolving things in a positive manner, even if people have to decide to walk their own way. They walk away with a certain respect and more of an understanding of one another, instead of that heavy hostility weighing them down.

Having a child with special needs has brought new unexpected challenges to my life, but has also brought a richness to my life I had never known before. I have met many strong and compassionate people, and have learned a lot from them. They may have coexist bumper stickers on their cars, but everything I have learned from them has been from their actions. If I see Wil being mistreated, my first reaction is anger and sadness. But I have seen and learned that stepping back, assessing the situation and coming at it in a confident and compassionate way is always the winner.

Most of the time, when Wil is treated unfairly, its done out of fear. Fear shows its face in all different ways and for different reasons, but fear is fear. And it does not stand a chance against compassion. Only when the situation is addressed from a point of confidence and understanding, can there be hope to overcome the fear. Not everyone will be reached, but at the very least, they won’t walk away feeling justified in their actions because they were screamed at and ridiculed.

There is no use holding resentment, it eats at you, and does not change the situation for the better. So, why do that to yourself? Life has enough mountains to climb without carrying that burden on your shoulders. Face things head on with confidence and compassion. Its not an easy thing to do, but the more we do it, and the more positive results we get, the more confidence we have to face the next challenge this way.

All the best,


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kodiak My Little Grizzly
    Feb 03, 2013 @ 03:22:09

    don’t have a bummper sticker… but he’s so cute… so happy!!! 🙂


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