Compassion For Strangers

Growing up, the slogan ‘stranger, danger’ was imprinted in our minds, leaving behind a trace of fear and anxiety behind anyone we don’t know that stresses us like nothing else. Even simply having them near or around us and acting ‘suspicious’ will set us on edge and forces us to calculate an escape route or find our next words without even knowing where the conversation could lead towards.

But take a moment and a step back and take a look at the situation splayed out in front of you. Here you have a human being, made up of the same basic building blocks as you, anger and happiness and frustration and love flowing through their veins just like you. They have people they love and people they hate and there’s people that love them and people that hate them, all for a million different reasons, just like you. You look at them in the eyes and perhaps meet a wall or an open door, but no matter what, you look within them and see an infinitely complex past and increasingly more complex future they have splayed out in front of them.

Inside every person around you is the capacity to be a leader, the change this world needs. Inside every person there once was a gleam of hope for something better, something more stable and beautiful than what they’re assigned to deal with now. Perhaps they lost that spark, perhaps they’re just starting to find it again. Maybe they just lost love, or they’re finally beginning to find it. Or maybe they just encountered the worst loss of their life, or more positively finally found their way out of darkness that had been shrouding them for too long. You must remember that every person who walks by, who sits near you, stands in front of you, has a beating heart and a brain full of unique thoughts and original ideas, and there is not one of them that doesn’t matter. They’re all people, just like you, whose lives are impossible to understand or deal with but yet they live, just like you convince yourself to do every day.

And isn’t that a strange thought- 7 billion people on this Earth and each one of them is going through their own problems and has their fears and their dreams and hopes, and yet the vast majority remain mysteries, often separated from you due to the color of their skin or the money they have sitting in their bank. 7 billion people just like you, and yet you can’t open your eyes to let them in because of an old saying that’s been repeated since your conception.

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