When we hear about situations in which someone has harmed another person, many of us often sympathize for the victims. We often look at the perpetrator as someone who is evil and has done evil doings. Understandably, we side with the victim as they have not done anything wrong. The perpetrator is seen as someone who needs to be punished for their actions for harming another human being. As I often have deep sympathy for people who have endured traumatic events by the hands of another, I often find myself also having compassion for the perpetrator as well. Many of the times, people who commit crimes, no matter what the nature of the crime is, have endured painful childhood upbringings, which has played a part in them choosing to harm others. Violence towards another is often an expression of deep rooted pain and hurt.
To give you one example, I have been following an abduction case from 2013. You may have heard of the 3 girls who were kidnapped in Cleveland, Ohio and kept prisoner for 11 years in the perpetrators home. The perpetrator's name was Ariel Castro. It is a famous abduction case that shocked the nation, including myself. This month of May marked the 2 year anniversary of the girls escape from their abductor. Ariel Castro's childhood was also filled with childhood sexual, physical and emotional abuse. By no means is there ever an excuse to commit a crime against another, and I believe in taking accountability and responsibility for ones actions. However, there is a part in all of us that is screaming for help of some sort. People who commit crimes against others are really screaming for relief from their pain and only want to be loved. It can be hard to have compassion for someone who commits crimes against others. However there is a part of them that just wants to be embraced, which is in all of us. This actually makes us more similar than different. Committing crimes towards another, no matter what it is, is a cry for help. Instead of judging the other in what they have done, try to have compassion for them. Try to look into their eyes and see a little girl or boy that hurts so bad that they lost themselves to the point that they chose to harm another.
Seeing and meeting others with compassion, no matter what they have done, doesn't excuse their behaviour, but helps you relate to them at a human level. Every person has some pain within themselves that has been sitting there for years wanting to be embraced, and people express it in different ways. The ones who go to the extreme to hurt others, deserve compassion and love equally so than people who have not committed crimes. We are quick to judge people for their wrong doings. However, try to be aware of your judgements and pause and ask yourself "what could this person have experienced before they have made that choice?" Remind yourself that it is pain being expressed as violence towards another. When we build more compassion for others, we are naturally building more compassion for ourselves. How we see another, is how we see ourselves. We don't know what people have gone through in their life. People who harm others, always come with past experiences filled with pain and hurt. We must realize that at a deeper level, we are all the same and how we express our pain is uniquely different.