Experience Equals Compassion


  • The bottom line —–> If you haven’t done a lot of shit in your life, then you are less likely to have compassion for people who live through that “shit”. There, I said it.
  • Do more, feel more, empathize more.
  • If we haven’t experienced it, let’s refrain from judging them. Let’s ESPECIALLY refrain from voting against them.

Links & Currently Reading

Currently reading Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. 


**This is a direct transcription of the podcast and is not meant to read perfectly. 

Everyone, I’m Daffnee, your host on the Better with Daffnee Podcast.  Hope everybody’s doing well.  I am excited to talk about this right now because I kind of just had this moment, this is really, and you guys will learn this as you keep listening to these episodes that kind of my aha moments and my light bulb moments are really very random, and not really that strategic.  But I feel like that’s when really the most meaningful stuff comes to me, and that’s the stuff that I really want to share with you guys, so.

So, today I am talking about something that I think is really relevant to a lot of the racial tensions and movements that are happening right now, very obviously, and specifically the Black Lives Matter movement.  And I think what this topic covers isn’t– it’s not just relevant to a racial movement, it’s really relevant to absolutely anything in the world that you could potentially agree with someone else about or have different opinions about or maybe get really angry about and, and just to preface this all as well.  This is totally Daffnee’s theory and brain.

This is not like…I didn’t read this in the textbooks.  And there’s no study on this that I know of maybe there is I don’t know, but I am– I was thinking about it because it’s relevant, and it’s timely.  And I definitely have interacted with a few people where I feel just so confused by their opinions.  I feel angry by some of them.  I feel personally offended.  I feel offended on behalf of my friends.  And, you know I think I just came to a place where I decided to, like I normally do kind of step aside from what I was feeling in that moment and really try to understand the why.  And, you know, what all of it meant and kind of why it made me so emotionally charged, which I think many, many of us are right now as you should be, I think that is fair and normal and healthy.

And so, the key word that we’re talking about, and that I’m getting to now finally is compassion, all right. So, we all know what compassion means.  And I decided that there was kind of a common pattern or trend in the people that I would disagree with, regarding institutionalized racism, and it really could be anything even over time about immigrants and ICE, a wall about just, you know- you know, our prison policy.  I mean, it really could– it could be anything, it could even be, you know whether or not, you know, the president should or should not be involved in one thing or another that, you know maybe it’s just a controversial topic, maybe it’s not even controversial, it could be anything, you know.

I think what I realized is the things that kind of were repeating factor for me and some of the conversations I had both in real time, and in kind of, you know social media time and whatever that look like.  I think that I realized there was this, this pattern of a lack of compassion.  I think that’s really what it came down too for me was that there’s this very, like tough love and everybody’s responsible for themselves and that’s just what, you know just kind of like throwing off judgments here and then.  And again, I mean, I think you’re for emotional talks about something that’s– that’s normal what we do, actually.

But I guess my whole thing was, you know where does compassion come from to begin with?  Like, why do some of us feel, you know, maybe sad or mad, or why’d we want to help somebody and maybe some people don’t feel that way.  And maybe, you know some of us feel that way about certain things and not others.  And, you know where does that all come from?  And I think the thing again, this is Daffnee’s theory about where this all comes from is that your compassion really comes from a place of experience; meaning if you have experienced firsthand something, could be a million different things.  It could be a dog on the side of the road.  It could be a child living in poverty.  It could be a family who’s hungry, it could be someone who’s sick with cancer, it could be anything.

You experience something, I think you’re more likely to– to invoke the feeling of compassion, because you’re seeing it and you’re experiencing it.  And I– and I mean that in real time.  So, I feel like the more experience we have, the more likely we are to feel compassion, especially about those things, right?  Because it– it is a totally different ballgame to be as an example, in another country, and see hungry children, small hungry children on the side of the road, right?  Like, versus– maybe what we see here.  At least where I live– I mean, that’s not happening here in Orlando, Florida.

And so for me, that pulled things out of my soul. That really hurt.  Do you know what I mean?  It made me really sad.  I mean, it really made me angry and it made me really want to help.  And I think when you see suffering and you experience hardships in yourself and in other people, you’re just more likely to realize and observe that it isn’t just so simple as– well, you’re just not working hard enough, or obviously you did something wrong, right?  Or you just made bad decisions or you know, we all heard the reasons, right?  But when you experience it, it just all of a sudden becomes less black and white.  It becomes more complex and you just know that there are layers to this, right?

So when I think about all that, I think that our compassion, our ability to feel certain types of ways comes from what we have seen and experienced ourselves.  And I do want to differentiate is– I think this is super important especially in today’s age where our experiences are not predominantly what we read in a book or what we see on the Internet.  Does that matter?  I think so.  I’ve definitely seen some things on the Internet.  I’m sure you guys can relate that we’re raunchy, right?  Or just like you were like, I will never unsee that, just some sad shit, right?  Like, I think we can all say that.  And I think you know, you guys know this about me, I’m a huge bookworm.  Like the things that we read are impactful, and they’re incredible and meaningful.  I don’t think those are the same things as the things that we experience in real life.  And so– again, I come back to the fact that the more you have seen…

And again, I don’t necessarily mean you had to have like flown to Africa and you know, made your way to the middle of the Congo to experience hardship.  I think that can mean a lot of things.  It could have been in your own childhood.  It could have been in your households.  It could be as simple as you know, maybe a friend of your child couldn’t afford to go on the field trip you know, and that was sad for you because you could have sent your kid on the field trip 10 times over.  And so, it’s just this thing that’s kind of foreign to you, right?  It makes you open your eyes and realize that hardship happens everywhere.  It happens next door and happens down the street and it happens in your children’s schools and in your workplace.

So, I think the thing I keep coming back to is that those real life and real time experiences are what make us more open to understanding and compassion.  And so, I think the next piece of this– and this is really– I mean, the definition of which we’ve all heard the same before, right?  So the fact that you haven’t walked in someone’s shoes– you know, no one shoes but your own, I think is just the most like basic but brilliant thing.  I mean, you have literally no idea what other people have gone through.  You don’t know what has made their life up, you know.  And so, without knowing their experiences, it’s difficult to gauge their level of compassion and their level of understanding, which is very important to remember because again, we are feeling emotionally charged and we’re feeling– like, why don’t you understand this and how can you think that and how can you vote for him?

And you know, it’s like we don’t know where those shoes have taken them.  Just like no one knows where – you know where you’ve been or what you’ve seen.  So, this leads me to my next point, which is again being the visual person that I am.  I imagine that there’s this like physical and mental space, a literal space, there’s nothing in it.  Okay, at least right at this moment in time.  And it is the space in between you hearing something that somebody says or seeing something that somebody does, again something that you don’t like, something you don’t agree with.  So, someone posts on Facebook that they love Trump and he’s doing all the right things.  And you’re like, that’s outrageous like– again, what are you talking about?

So this space, right– that this like, imaginary space is in between when you first see or experience or hear somebody saying or doing something.  And then that next piece, which is like you instantly have that reaction which is like, I disagree.  That’s stupid.  I don’t like it.  I don’t like that person.  I’m mad.  I’m going to say something.  I’m going to do– you know, like that– the reactionary piece of it.  And so like, step one is like they say or do something, then there’s a space in the middle.  And then there’s the third like of it, which is like your reaction to them.  And what I imagine is that in that space– and everybody has it, everybody has one.  The– everyone gets their own space.  You get a space.  You get space.  And you get a space, okay?

So in this space, there’s these things that have made up their life.  It has made up their experiences.  It has made up everything about that person, and you can’t know it.  You can’t know what’s in the space.  You have no way of knowing that.  And so, maybe with people you know better– you know, some things, right?  But you don’t really know everything that makes up their space, their empty space, because it’s not empty for them.  It’s empty for you because you don’t know about it, okay?

And the things that are in the space are all the things that have happened to them over the course of their lifetime from day one until right now, and it can be good things and it could be bad things.  It can be serious things.  It can be funny things.  It can be their interactions.  It’s everything, okay?  And it’s made up and it’s influenced and shaped by the trauma that they’ve experienced, how sheltered they were, their education, their experiences, have they traveled, have they been discriminated against?  It’s made up of all of these things, right?  And those things are what has prompted them to say the things they say and do the things they do and believe in the things that they believe in.

And I think that the really important thing here and maybe this is like the most obvious thing to everybody, I don’t know.  I just had this like realization where, I, you know, I wanted to know, like, how do I, before I get to that reactionary place, like how do I kind of think about the things that are happening right now and what it means, and why that person is really the why, why are they saying these things that for me seems so outrageous or like are so ridiculous, or so obvious?

And I think I just come back to that, I don’t know what’s in their space.  And if I did, what would that mean?  Like, if I could actually understand and see through somebody’s pain or like trauma or abuse or anything that had happened to them, would it change how I come at them?  Would it change how I thought about them?  And I think the answer is a resounding yes, you know.

And I would argue that the people who are experience whether it’s online or in my Zumba class or at CrossFit, or whatever that looks like.  I would argue that the people who kind of say a lot of things that I think are hurtful or dismissive or judgy.  I think they have lot of stuff that’s not necessarily positive.  You know, I think they have a stuff that has shaped that space for them in a way that’s made them kind of hard.

And I don’t think that they’ve necessarily experienced hardship that will allow them or would allow them to experience compassion for other people in the ways that we’re talking about, you know, so I think that if we stopped, think about that for a second, really like think about what is in their space and how it affects and influences what they’re saying and thinking, all of these would maybe feel a little bit more approachable.  I think we would maybe be able to have a dialogue that makes more sense and is more productive.

I also do want to say that I have, I’m just being very honest and transparent.  I have unfriended people in the last month, okay, plenty of people actually, because I feel like there’s this line of can I engage in a dialogue with you?  I can ask you these questions, I can share my opinions, I can, you know, try to hold back from passing judgment.

And in some situation, it’s worth it.  And in others, it doesn’t feel worth it to me.  And I’m allowed to make that call, as are you, right?  So, I don’t want to sit here and say that if you are friends with somebody who is part of the KKK, and like, you know, does some very vulgar things that you should take the time to stop and understand their space, I don’t necessarily think that I think we’re all, you know, responsible for our own lives and our own circles.

But I would encourage you to maybe think about people who actually mean something to you, and maybe people who just have had a lack of experience, or have maybe just had too many negative experiences that maybe you do or do not know about.  And maybe that’s an opportunity to grow closer to that person or to educate them more, you know, and I don’t, you know, again, I want to reiterate that I don’t think it’s our job to fix everybody else.

But I think in my approach of what’s going on right now, it is our job to be vocal about educating people because I also do want to state very, very clearly that especially with the Black Lives Matter movement, there’s this really awful thing that I’m seeing happening online, which is people spewing opinions but forgetting that there’s a lot of historical factual information as well.  And that is something that we need to not lose sight of.

So, there’s history, there is facts.  There are stories, there are textbooks, there are experts, there are people who are shedding light on why our situation, and I say that because I’m including myself as a person who is, you know, mostly people think that I’m white.  No, I was born in Mexico, but I’m not black, and it’s my responsibility to continue to question everything and to educate myself as much as I can.

And so, with that being said, I want to reiterate that again, there are extreme cases, and I think that as long as you are working to protect your well-being and you know, grow as a person, there’s probably room for some of this in your life and there’s probably not room for some of it to, and that’s okay.  I don’t open my Facebook and try to fix people.

You know, I try to educate and I’ve had some really great conversations with people.  And I’ve been able to teach people some things and vice versa.  You know, I’m not, I don’t know everything.  So, I think when I could come back to I think the overarching picture here is that the reason in many cases, you know, not all cases, but I think the reason in many cases that people are so quick to pass judgment and not relate to them is just because they physically haven’t been given opportunity or taken the opportunity because we are responsible for also experiencing things on our own accord, experiences don’t just fall into your lap, so we do have to be responsible there.

But if you haven’t had opportunity to experience these things and experience hardships from other people, you know, and see other people suffering, then it’s very unlikely that you’re going to think that these people deserve compassion, and they deserve the time and they deserve the change and they deserve the reform, you know, and I think that’s what this all comes back to them.

So, when you have a lot of rich experiences and you’ve been able to connect with people and cultures and places that are different from you and people that are different from you, you’re more likely to have compassion, which is going to make your approach to these types of conversations so much more well-rounded, and based in something more tangible and valuable.  Whereas, if you lack a lot of those experiences, you’re probably also going to lack some of that compassion.

And your compassion is going to be very important, probably just limited to the things that you’ve seen.  But if that’s limited, then here we are again.  So if we can continue to experience, we can continue to grow in compassion, you know, and lead with compassion, which I think is just the most important thing ever.  I mean, I– it’s almost a curse to just feel so sad for people sometimes.  I mean, it’s kind of exhausting like that you know, it’s not even productive all the time.  But I would rather be that way than the opposite.

And I think that’s something, I’m totally okay with, you know.  And I’m sure you guys have heard this quote before, but it’s a blessing and a curse to feel everything so deeply.  But some of us are that way, and maybe some of us are not as extreme, but you know it’s something that– it’s something that I’d rather have and not have.  And so I think it comes also back to just channeling it into a way that I think is productive and meaningful, which is partly why I’m literally podcasting about this with you right now.

And so, I think the takeaway here and if I had to give you like a call to action, it’s– I encourage you to kind of flow in that space with other people, even if it’s just for a minute, you know.  I encourage you to stop and say, like man, I wonder if this person has experienced this.  I wonder if that person has experienced trauma, I wonder if this person has actually seen what it’s like to live in poverty or to not have enough money for this or to not have access to this, like stop and live in that space.  In the space that doesn’t belong to you, you know, and that you don’t know about and you can’t define for somebody else.  And I think it might help everybody engaged with each other and a little bit more of a productive way and maybe in a way that’s not as harmful and hurtful, which I know it can be.

And I do want to also say and I myself guilty of this and some of the conversations that I’ve had, I get so heated, like I get mad, I’m angry, I’m so frustrated and I want– I just want things to be better for everybody, you know.  And I mean, I can’t tell you how mad I get when I see all lives matter, because it’s just such a blatant representation of your lack of knowledge and like, sorry that made you mad, and you don’t want to listen to this anymore, actually just kidding, I’m not sorry, I don’t care, just in my podcast.  I can say whatever I want to say.

But I think it’s just, you know, it’s angry.  So yeah, you’re not alone in that and we’re allowed to feel those ways.  But I also do want to stop and ask myself, what is that person’s space?  What is your space like?  What is that like area that I just don’t know about?  You know, like what happened to them when they were five or 15?  What happened to them yesterday?  You know, do they have a good support system?  Are they educated?  Have they left the four walls of their home?  Have they left their city?  You’ll be shocked at how many people have never even ventured outside of like, the 10-mile radius of their home.  I mean, it’s actually kind of crazy.  And I don’t meant by going to the beach, you know.  I mean, had people actually experienced the suffering that is everywhere, it’s like everywhere, you know and in of all ages and all races.

And in fact, it’s not, you know, just to be clear, it’s not about money.  There’s people in affluent neighborhoods, in rich vaulted neighborhoods that are suffering, you know, and have experienced hardships as well.  So, I would encourage you to just float in that space and just ask yourself, you know, what is making this person say these things and feel this way, and how can I contribute to something in a dialogue with them or in a conversation with them, or what can I show them.  You know, what story can I share with them, that is actually meaningful and maybe will allow them to gain some experience.

And I feel like we’re all just going through our days and our life, just kind of like adding a little, you know, tickets underneath our experience through with that type of picture and I just hope my belt is like about to explode or rip or tear all the time.  They just want more and more and more and more, because I know that’s going to make me more educated and it’s going to make me more compassionate.

So, you know, imagine that, you know and maybe your experience belt is overflowing, and maybe that person, though that you are just kind of disappointed, doesn’t understand what’s going on and say some hurtful things, maybe they have nothing, maybe they even have a belts, I don’t know, you know, that’s the point of it all is that we don’t know.  So, I would encourage you to fall in that space, and think about how you might be able to have a more intellectual conversation, and more meaningful conversation and more productive conversation.  And I do want to say this, you know, a lot of you guys that follow me on social media and friends on Facebook, whatever that looks like, I am really proud of what I see.

I mean, I think that I have friends and family and colleagues who are doing like, very meaningful, important work by educating and by floating in other people’s spaces and by trying to be understanding, and by being compassionate and by experiencing.  So you know, I’m not speaking as if nobody around me is doing these things already and you guys are.

And I would think we just have to continue to do that and expand it.  And teach our children how to do the same thing.  You know, and I think this kind of practice and this kind of understanding starts from day one, you know, and it starts at home.  And it’s okay to speak up when something isn’t right and doesn’t feel right to you, and that’s how we continue to gain experience, you know, and continue to, you know, expand our compassion and grow our compassion for other people and other situations, especially people who are different from us, especially people who are suffering more than us.  And there’s always going to be that, you know, there’s no shortage of suffering unfortunately, and there’s no shortage of people who need to be better understood, and people who need our support.

So as a wrap up, more experience, more compassion that’s just better, it is, it’s just better.  Just do more shit.  So you can get more compassion, just oversimplified though.  So yeah, so here’s the floating in that space, here’s to trying to better understand the path that other people have locked and doing better for the people around us.

Thanks for tuning in to The Better with Daffnee Podcast, head on over to iTunes and leave a review and be sure to follow me on Instagram at Daffnee.  Be sure to send me your show topic suggestions and questions on Instagram.

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