8 Week Challenge: Outward Compassion

When I set out on this part of the 8 Week Challenge, I actually  wasn’t concerned about having nothing to write about at all. Outward Compassion is my thing. I’m still working on having Compassion for myself, but that’s another post ;). I don’t find Outward Compassion to be all that difficult. I make a conscious effort to not judge people, I put myself in the shoes of others, I picture things from other perspectives all the time. It’s the only way I can accept some of the horrible things that others do. I have to always remind myself that yes, what they did was horrible, but every person has a story and a path that lead them to where they are in their lives, and I can’t judge them for that. My intention in writing about Outward Compassion, was to take part in a debate while representing a side that I didn’t personally agree with. It soon became something entirely different.

Until recently, one of my hobbies was engaging in online debates. No, not as one of those trolls who starts arguments in comments on news articles. I actually sought out and joined an online debate forum. I used to go on there everyday and engage in some pretty lively debates. You’ll notice that I said “until recently”. I’ve actually noticed that the further my Journey to Love takes me, the less interest I have in engaging in these lively debates with others. Not because I don’t still like to debate, but because some of the debate tactics of others are some of the most unkind, unloving and disrespectful methods of communication I have ever encountered. Most people today seem to be rather rooted in either very Liberal or very Conservative soil, and their debate tactics reflect that. I, on the other hand, am firmly in the middle. I have some conservative views and I have some liberal views. Both of which will influence my debate arguments. This has gotten me into trouble on these debate forums. You see, most people will expect you to take a position that is either liberal or conservative, and prepare their mud slings to attack your political leanings, not your prepared arguments. I have found this to be the case in nearly every single debate I have been in. The topic will quickly go from taking sides about a particular current event, and devolve into criticizing someone for simply being a bleeding heart liberal or a die hard conservative.

So, as I said, I logged on to my debate forums this week with the intention of taking an opposite position than what I personally agree with. The topic is unimportant, because, like so many other debates, this one turned into a mudslinging contest within just the first ten posts. It didn’t take long for someone to notice my tendency to shine light on grey areas and jump on me for it. One person in particular started to make things very personal. She attacked my debate tactics, called me naive, and even pointed out that debating with me used to be much more fun for her before I got all “Lovey-dovey”. What started out as me taking part in a debate to try and see from the perspective of another, ended up with me doing just that. But instead of it being as part of the debate, I was now seeing things from the perspective of the other debater. Whereas once I would have become incredibly defensive, and perhaps started to sling some mud of my own, I tried to see where this woman was coming from. I may never know her personal story, but I know that she has one. I know that her cynical nature is a result of the life she has lived, and that I can’t worry about defending myself from her inaccurate assumptions of me, but instead have compassion for her and her situation. I, of course, did not say these things to her. She would have found that patronizing, I’m sure, which would not have helped matters at all. Instead, I thanked her for the learning opportunity, and bowed out gracefully from the debate. I haven’t been back since.

What are on those forums, and in fact, even what we see on a larger political scale, are no longer debates. They’re pissing contests. Who can be the loudest, the meanest and the best at tearing down the other side. I have learned that I can no longer engage in those kinds of debates. All that being said, I still Love me a good debate, so if any of my readers out there who are living a Life in Love know of any good debate forums that don’t devolve into SHTF scenarios, I’d love to hear about them. 🙂