Serena Simmons Consultant Psychologist

Change. Motivate. Adapt. Improve. Perform

Is compassion limited?…

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I think we would all have to be living under a very large rock to have missed the sad news regarding Cecil the Lion who was killed by an American Dentist just recently.

Now, I’m not going to discuss this event here per se, but this event raised an issue that I would like to ponder with you here…and that is the idea of Compassion.


You see, I happen to love animals.

I am passionate about their welfare, their wellbeing and right to live in a world where they don’t feel threatened, scared or basically are being tortured and hunted in the name of sport (!!!).

Because I am passionate about these things, I follow various animal welfare groups on Social media.  I give regularly to a few select animal charities and am setting up a new portion of my business that will directly feed into such charities.

So, ‘so what’ you may be rightly asking?

As I was reading some comments on a social media tag related to Cecil, I happened to notice, more than once on more than one site, various people had been infiltrating these sites and writing angry posts to ‘people who support and fight for animals’ when we have a whole world of starving and dying ‘people and children’.

These posts contained awful images of starving and dying children from across the globe and in the process people become angrier and more graphic in their argument, which basically came down to this…

…if you care about animals, you fundamentally do not care about people (in particular, children).

I was shocked and saddened to my core to read this.

That people could think that compassion for living things is limited to ONE entity.  That maybe just because you support a particular cause, that you have no room in your heart to recognise, help or support another (?!)…was beyond me.

For me it raised the obvious question…

Is Compassion limited?  

Now, I don’t mean is it limited for me….because for me it is quite the opposite.  It is an overflowing ‘porridge-pot’ if you will, of love and compassion for all.  In fact, it is like an open channel. In realising my compassion for one thing it only heightens it across the board, animals, people, you name it!

But what I realised when reading the comments being made by these people writing angry, hateful things to anyone that dare support animals OVER people, was that this was exactly their own feeling and their own fear.

You see, take this to its logical extreme and what you hear underneath the white noise of their comments might be something like this…

..if I cared about animals as well, I would have no compassion left for people and I can’t not care about people.

…people are more important than animals.

…we don’t need animals..

…we need people..

…we need to help people.

…I’m a person.

…I need help sometimes.

…what would happen if I needed help?

…and no-one helped ME!

…who’s going to help ME!

– It’s all about YOU- 

Now, obviously I’m not saying that this is exactly someones dialogue, but what I have learnt in my work as a psychologist is that people often get angry and show fear when they are fearful about something themselves.

Also, the stem of this fear <that may begin with the outward-facing display of judgement> usually begins, because they have a judgement themselves.

You are more often than you know, TELLING YOUR OWN STORY.

So, for anyone that is angry about a lack of compassion for ‘humans versus animals’,

..for not liking people from certain religions or races,

..for discriminating against people who look different in their dress or appearance,

..for being hateful towards people who have a different sexuality to yours,

..for insulting those who do not fit your gender stereotypes,

I ask the questions…what are you really fearful of about yourself?

What does another persons actions, behaviours, feelings, beliefs, appearance say about YOU?

If someone shows compassion, what are you really are you afraid?

Do you think it will run out? Is it limited?  Because if you think it is, who’s story are you telling…theirs or your own?

Til next week!

 As always, I’d love to know what you think about this topic and look forward to reading your comments.


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