Compassion involves feeling another person’s pain and wanting to take steps to help relieve their suffering. The word compassion itself derives from Latin and means “to suffer together.”
Compassion differs from other emotions like Sympathy, Empathy and Altruism which relate more with understanding a persons perspective with careful attention to kindness.
Compassion goes a step beyond — compassion drives us to take action to help that person, rather than simply seeing things from their prespective.
Signs of: A Compassionate Individual
- The ability to understand peoples emotions and feelings; even if their backgrounds are vastly different.
- Constantly mindful of other people’s emotions, thoughts and experiences.
- Taking action to help ease suffering in others.
There are two main forms of compassion: Compassion for others and compassion for ourselves.
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
For compassionate individuals, generally they are found to have a greater sense of compassion for others over themselves. It’s easy to want to help everyone else, but Self Compassion involves treating ourselves with the same kindness and understanding that we would give to another human. Forgiving our mistakes, sitting with our feelings and learning to understand our own thoughts, while wholy accepting all imperfections a long the way.
How To: Practice Compassion
- Speak with kindness
- Listen mindfully, without judgment
- Encourage yourself and other people
- Offer assistance to those in need
- Be happy for someone else’s success
- Accept yourself and others for who they are
- Forgive yourself and others for their mistakes
- Show respect to all, yourself included
- Express gratitude and appreciation
- Be patient
Reasons to: Practice Compassion
- It feels good. Giving compassion to others helps us feel like we’re doing our part to heal the collective whole. Showing ourselves Self Compassion helps us evolve, seeing all imperfections as teachable moments as opposed to belittling ourselves for our mistakes.
- Extends Longevity. Volunteering to help others has been shown to increase life expectancy in comparison to those who don’t.
- Contributes to Life Purpose. Helping others gives ourselves a greater sense of purpose through living a meaningful life in service to others.
- Improves Relationships. It helps to build stronger social structures, where all impacted can feel supported, loved and understood.
Is there such a thing as too much Compassion?
There can be too much of a good thing. Those who practice compassion on a regular basis have been known to fall into “Compassion Fatigue“.
Compassion Fatigue is simply an individual expending too much energy trying to help everyone around them, or taking on too many other emotions before fulfilling their own needs.
Long term effects of Compassion Fatigue can lead to: Withdrawal, Emotional Turbulence, Depression, Frustration, and loss of compassion as a whole.
If you’re experience Compassion Fatigue it’s best to flip the narrative back to Self Compassion.
It’s important to practice self compassion abundantly before giving too much of yourself, energy, emotions, time and action away to others.
As always your emotional balance should come first. x