Your Compassion Influence Counts

How are you doing? No. Really. Stop. Pause. Breathe. Check in with you. How are you doing?

Me? Yeah, I think I might have a dose of overload, a very real thing. And what is the antidote? Compassion of course! For self especially. I know my heart is raw.

There is so much going on right now. Here in Atlanta, we are still reeling from the intersection of gun violence, racism, misogyny, religious indoctrination and the sexuality shame that led to the killing of 8 of our precious citizens. It hits differently when it happens closer to home. And then Colorado happened. And then being drawn to watching the trial of George Floyd oops – Derek Chauvin, and crying at the sight, again, of a grown man calling for his mama.

When I am bombarded with all this data, as an anti-racism trainer, I become overwhelmed easily and I vacillate between “Am I doing enough?” And “Is there any point to what I am doing?”

And I have to invest deeply in self compassion and remind myself that it is not my job to fix the entire world. It is only my job to work on what I get to influence directly. For instance, how I write this newsletter is my direct influence. And a couple of weeks ago, I wrote the Compassionate Atlanta statement about the Atlanta murders and I used the term “Massage Parlor” instead of “Spa.”

Our Board of Directors are the best and sharpest and one of our board members reached out and corrected me. I am so proud of that. There are nuances to the differences in those terms – one sounds seedy and is built on the stereotype of sex workers and the other is a more accurate benign description of a business. Language matters. I apologize for not using the more humane language and thoughtlessly using a derogatory trope.

I hate that I stepped into that misnomer, but I love that I have a community that I am accountable to and helps me when I make a mistake like that. And it is important that I share that with you because on this journey of fixing things with compassion, you will mess up like I did, and you will have the opportunity to fix it and be kind to yourself while doing so.

This is how you do it. You name it. You own it. You apologize. You relax – you are human after all. And you fix what you can and you keep it moving.

We are in this together. This is part of our common humanity. May we all never lose our compassion for each other. And for ourselves.

In this season of Springtime Passover, Easter, and upcoming Ramadan, may we gather ourselves and pour our grief and shock into our relationships, our loved ones and even our work to bring healing into the world. This is our Tikkun Olam – our responsibility to bring healing to the world.


Iyabo Onipede
Compassion Cultivator
Compassionate Atlanta

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