Compassion: What is it?
Many times compassion gets confused with pity, and yet the two are entirely different. Pity has more to do with feeling sorry for a person or a situation, and that is as far as that goes. A person exhibiting pity is positioned from a place of superiority.
Compassion, on the other hand, is a feeling of sympathy that drives you to do something about a situation or state of affairs. It is loaded with empathy, kindness and consideration for the well-being or betterment of others other than yourself.
We may wonder how we can make other people’s lives happier, well, the answer to that lies in being compassionate. The beauty is that with every act of compassion you exhibit, you are in turn rewarded for that act. As a result, you too, end up being happy as well. It is nature’s reward to you for your kindness.
Compassion comes from the inner recess of our being and cannot be faked. When we pretend to be compassionate, we hurt ourselves, as there is no worse lie to tell other than to lie to ourselves. When practiced right, you will feel the difference. That is what you can use as the measure of whether or not your act of compassion is genuine or not.
Humans do not generally default to compassion. They tend to get frustrated with challenges and get irritable and defensive as opposed to being thoughtful and sensitive, which are elements of compassion.
The great thing is; compassion can be learned or developed.
Here are 8 ways you can practice compassion
1. Do unto others what you desire done to you
Do not always expecting respect from others. Be the one to give it first, and start with those you ordinarily think least deserve it. If it were you, how would you want to be treated?
I know a guy who got a job in a company as the new Company President. It was a large company with 2,000 employees.
Two weeks before he started work, he told his recruiters he wanted to observe all the eleven heads of departments who would be answering directly to him.
He dressed up as one of the housekeepers and would clean the Department Heads offices and hung around them just to observe how they communicated with the employees.
He noticed some of the Department Heads did not even bother to say good morning to him because he was dressed as the office cleaner. He smiled at them, but some ignored him. They felt too superior to be bothered. He also noticed others yelled out directions to the employees as if they were in the army or boot camp.
You can imagine the shock some people got when after two weeks he was all dressed up in his expensive suit and was introduced by the vice-president as the new Company President.
2. Be empathetic
Most people are not really looking for help; they simply need someone to give them a listening ear. Someone they can vent to who will listen with empathy and not judge them. A listening ear goes a long way in resolving many people challenges. Make eye contact and express genuine interest.
3. Advocate for the helpless
Most people who seem helpless are where they are because they cannot defend themselves. If you can, defend them from bullies. It could be at your workplace when the staff has singled out one of their own for ridicule, or in your classroom. Stick out for them and draw the line in their defense.
4. Cultivate good karma
Volunteering is probably one of the simplest ways to generate good karma. Do not do it just for the good credit you expect to get from your acts, but because you care. Find something you are passionate about; time with the elderly, or children’s home or visiting the sick. Enjoy yourself while you are it. It should not come off as a duty or chore because you will spoil the fun and purpose of being there in the first place.
5. Express affection within appropriate bounds
There are cases when all it takes is just a hug, a loving touch or even a smile to restore another person’s hope. Be there when you are needed and respect the boundaries where they are called for. A gesture as simple as a hug, a pat on the shoulder or a squeeze of the hand could go a long way.
6. Be an encourager
Being an encourager means seeing people through whatever challenges they may be facing. Point them to their positive qualities and the strengths they have. Encourage them by boosting their confidence and they will move forward.
7. Reach out
Reach out and join a cause and regularly help out. It maybe someone from another country who you don’t know. Adopt a child or family and meet their basic needs.
When you give, you will receive happiness. It’s a proven principle.
Here is an organization I recommend you can reach out to:
8. It’s the Small things
You don’t have to move mountains to make another person happy. Sometimes it’s the small acts that matter most. In the end, compassion results in you becoming happier too. It’s a two-way traffic -make the most of it.
Now that you have within your grasp the controls of happiness, choose compassion and be happy.
Your turn, What do you do to practice compassion?
Don’t forget to join the email list & get your free Goal Setting & Happiness Workbook.