Compassion Under Fear

This past Sunday, my family went to visit another family for a barbecue they were hosting. I had never truly met them formally before, and to my horror they had a five year old boy. Now let me tell you, as a 21 year old girl, I do not particularly like kids. At all. I much prefer animals. It may be because I grew up as a single child with cousins much older than I and instead watched a shit ton of documentaries on wildlife, but I am awkward around kids. Or at least, with toddlers and below. Not to mention I hate loud noises and some toddlers tend to be loud and/or make loud noises like throwing toys.

Anyway, their five year old son, let’s call him P., was super into me. He kept looking at me and doing things to get my attention. I eventually went inside with him because he wanted to play with me. And from there I was held hostage by a five year old boy for 5 hours. As an introvert who gets tired from socializing quickly and also someone who is not at all fond of kids, I was dying fast and furious.

That night when my family and I got home, my parents were teasing me about it because they know I am incredibly awkward around kids and babies. I kind of snorted and said that I disliked kids, which lead to my dad saying how that meant I’m not compassionate. I think that was just my dad’s slightly inebriated side talking, but it got me thinking.

I think you can still have compassion even if you don’t like something. Heck, I hate spiders. I fear them and every time I see one I will freak out. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have compassion for them. Whenever I see a spider in my vicinity, no matter how much I freak out, I won’t kill it. I’ll have someone else take care of it and throw it outside.

Of course, it’s a no brainer that if you don’t like something (or even hate it), you aren’t at all interested in them. For example, I won’t go out of my way to donate to a charity that saves some endangered spider species because I’m not interested in them in the slightest to begin with. But when it comes down to specific moment between me and a spider, yeah I will have compassion and avoid making any rash decisions that might mean death.

Same with kids. I might even go to the extent to say I almost hate kids, but that doesn’t mean I’ll stand by idly if I see a kid getting hurt or such. I do feel sympathy for kids who suffer through bad times, be it an abusive home or losing a family in war, and I wouldn’t wish harm to anything no matter how much I dislike them. And I think everyone can relate to that. You may not go out of your way to save or do something nice for something/someone you hate, but you might just have a separate container of compassion in yourself that has nothing to do with your fear or disliked thing.

Of course, everyone’s fear or hatred of something may very well exceed the point where his/her “emergency compassion” may not exist for that specific thing/person, but I think it’s there in everyone to begin with.

What do you guys think?

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