To be compassionate is to see someone else’s pain and trying to do your part to help alleviate that person’s suffering. It comes from the Latin word, “to suffer together.” I think the word empathy gets thrown around much more than compassion. It’s not a bad thing. Empathy is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Compassion is then taking action.
There are two types of compassion that we could all work on. The first one is self-compassion. Something I can’t say that I have had a lot of. Self-compassion is treating yourself with the same compassion and kindness as you would treat others. I think I can be my own worst critic, and it’s easy for me to beat myself up. If someone else did the same thing, I know I could be way more lenient. The other one is compassion towards others, which was defined in our beginning paragraph. The key with showing someone compassion is doing so without judgement. It’s knowing where someone is in their life and doing what you can to ease that person’s pain.
Benefits of Being Compassionate
If I gave a list of benefits instead of just being kind for kindness sake, I really feel like I’m doing compassion injustice. We should be compassionate because it’s just the right thing to do. This world is difficult. Not one person can do it on their own. One huge benefit of compassion is increased psychological well-being. In order to perform in school, work, and life, we need psychological safety. If there is none, it can be very hard to accomplish getting up in the morning. Finding compassion can help people get through difficult spouts in their life.
Happiness is found in having compassion towards others. On LinkedIn, I saw this post where this principal gave students at a school and individual balloon. The principal told all the students to throw their balloons in the hall. They were later instructed to find their balloon. The kids struggled to find their balloons mixed in the balloons from their peers. When the principal saw that they were being defeated by the task, the principal then said to pair up with someone help them find their balloon. The kids began giving balloons to each other. The same can be said about happiness. We can’t find it together on our own. When people are able to get into our shoes and act with compassion because of it, life gets a little easier.
Compassion also strengthen relationships. I would say my biggest relationships failed because of a lack of compassion. Compassion helps build the social support that is important for mental well-being. I’m one of those people who don’t really care about small talk, or things we have in common. If I see acts of kindness, we already know that it’s a love language. We experience benefits of compassion whether we notice it or not.
How to Become More Compassionate
The best way to be more compassionate is to be more aware of other people. If someone is having a bad time, put yourself in their shoes to see if there’s something you can do help alleviate the pain. See what they are going through from a different perspective than you own. Everyone has their own issues, and we should dismiss any of it because we simply don’t understand. The other thing we should do is let go of judgement. We should accept people for who they are, not who we want them to be.
Creating genuine relationships is very important in this world. In most cases, our relationships can be very much superficial and surface-level. Instead, we can use compassion to have a deeper relationship by learning about the people in our lives, especially through hard times. Being open to feel the feelings of another person create more meaningful connections.