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Pivot Point #5: Calling for Compassion & Common Sense

common sense compassion good intentions Oct 17, 2022

I ALWAYS appreciate the compassionate instinct of so many people who seek to help others in their time of need. However, acts of compassion without common sense only results in the need for even more "compassionate acts."  Of course, there are individuals who experience chronic conditions that require ongoing assistance. I’m NOT talking about them.

Recently, I encountered a young man in his late 20’s. He described his struggles to escape the trap of alcoholism and homelessness. He said that the hardest part of getting his life back was breaking the cycle of dependence on all the free stuff he was given by so many well-intentioned, "Good Samaritans."

His recalled the first time he woke up cozied next to a dumpster in an alley behind the bar where he drank himself into oblivion. He was hungover and disoriented but warmed by a new blanket courtesy of an anonymous benefactor. Nearly,every morning thereafter, he woke up to an array of other unsolicited donations ranging from food, cash, cigarettes and even drugs or alcohol. Clearly, the compassionate instincts of total strangers were counterproductive. After all he said, who wants to give up all this free stuff?

In a rare moment of clarity, he realized that the items intended to mitigate his discomfort, actually became links in the chain that kept him tied to "his dumpster."  Fortunately, he had the personal fortitude to swim upstream against the current and reclaim his life.

So before you blindly act with with compassion, consider whether your act also includes an element of common sense. There's a reason why the signs in the park say, "Don;t feed the squirrels."

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