Criticism and division is a hallmark of current times, sadly. In fact, a criticism or judgement about your personal choices are morphing from a judgemental tone, to physical assault. Tension is at an all time high in the United States and within the collective. When it is all around us, and piping through our senses via social media conversations and the news, it subconsciously affects us.

Right now, that subconscious tension is the straw breaking the camel’s back, and people are coming unglued. People and families of all ages, cultures, beliefs and affiliations are simply weary of ‘keeping it together,’ staying grounded, positive or in charge amidst such turbulent times right outside our back doors. Sometimes in our own homes.

Criticism. It seems so harmless a word, though it is actually front and center in our lives today. With decisions about children being made to attend school in person, or to be homeschooled; to mask or not to wear a mask; Black Lives Matter or Police Officer support. So many either-or scenarios are borne of criticism. Along with presumptions and simply being judgemental. Criticism is behind tensions bursting into physical harm, threats and bullying today.

This is simple. Before any of us criticize or judge – as opposed to discernment which always locates the actual truth, and the facts – we must be responsible, awake, aware and reasonable enough to first ask : “Do I have a horse in this race? Does this affect me, my family or my livelihood directly?” Learning to choose our battles in keeping with our needs and our own personal well being is key. Life is just too stressful, uncertain and confusing to navigate right now, we must be vigilant in our conscious awareness and – in our level of compassion.

Compassion. We must turn the volume up on this. This is not to give a pass to harmful behaviors directed towards you or your loved ones, it is to say – ask the reasonable, necessary questions first. Before a criticism or presumption, let curiosity be your guide first. Let kindness be your fuel. We cannot ever reasonably presume to know anyone’s position in their lives. Because mental and emotional well being is under real harm over the last few months, we truly must rely on compassion, discernment and open minds to lead the way before launching into a campaign to uproot someone’s freedom of choice, to live as they wish, and to speak and make choices they want to.

How about a preventative measure for bullying, physical assaults or terrorizing campaigns of a group or person? That’s compassion, too. If you can’t persuade anyone else to make it their modus operandi, start with yourself, your family and your loved ones. Your example will make a difference.

Buddha says; “May I hold myself in compassion. May I meet the suffering and ignorance of others with compassion. Never forget that compassion makes the world noble and beautiful.”

Ask yourself what would make YOU feel better? To be in a state of compassion or in a state of criticism? If you must make this about the self, this is the question, and this is grounded in reason. If you would like a brighter world, where there is less fighting or harshness towards our fellow man, let compassion arise in your heart and mind. Remember to bring compassion to yourself in your own vulnerability as a human being.