As I've grown older, I've paid more attention to how my actions and words are perceived by others. And while I preach that other people should not determine your worth, I do believe that how you interact with people determines a lot about your open mindedness and your ability to be compassionate.
We all have our own lives and experiences that no one else in this world could ever understand. But having the ability to realize this, and to listen to what it's like for someone else is what compassion is all about. If you aren't able to think of what it's like for someone else to live with the issues they have or to experience things differently than you, it will be harder to be compassionate to their plights, big or small. You can be compassionate without fully understanding why.
Even if you don't understand or can even fathom what it's like to walk a mile in someone else's shoes, you can still be compassionate to what it's like for them. The difference between empathy and compassion is that with empathy, you not only understand their pain but you take that pain on as your own. We aren't talking about empathy, even though it sometimes goes hand in hand with compassion. You can be compassionate without being empathetic.
Compassion is about love and acceptance. When someone explains to you an experience that you've never gone through, that you can't even understand going through, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Even if it's a similar situation to one you've been through, it isn't the same situation. People go through things differently. Every situation and person is different. But we can be better people by feeling compassion.
So, the next time someone is talking to you about their life, their happiness, or their struggles, remain compassionate and understanding. Do not dismiss their experiences because they aren't yours. Do not dismiss their feelings because you don't understand them. Simply express compassion. You don't have to become involved, but you don't have the right to tell them that what they feel is invalid.
Love yourself and love each other, bitches.