Some people are born with the capacity of being compassionate not only to humans, but to pets, wildlife, and even nature. While compassion is a trait that is both biological and learned from our environment in childhood, you can learn to be more compassionate and thereby understand the importance of compassion.
What is the definition of Compassion?
- a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
- Compassion is sometimes used interchangeably with sympathy, which most commonly means the sharing of emotions with someone else, especially sadness. Both words are used in the context of feeling sorry for people who are in negative situations. But compassion is often understood as a feeling that motivates you to help them.
The Importance of Compassion
We live in such a busy world nowadays. Everyone is so busy with school or working, whether that is at home or in the outside world and it is easy to forget those that need a little extra help. Self-care habits are forgotten too in the rush of daily life.
But life has changed a lot this year of 2020 and for many life slowed down for a while.
For some it remained slow but with worries and extra stress from losing jobs as companies closed because of loss of revenue during lockdowns. Many struggled with mental health during this time too and those living in abusive situations found themselves trapped more than ever. All these people need compassion but NOT Pity.
Mainly because pity carries negative connotations as though you are looking down on someone.
Compassion as a Practice
If being compassionate is unfamiliar to you, it will take time and practice. At first it will seem strange and unfamiliar, forced as well probably but after a time it gets easier. Practicing regularly helps to set the habit in your brain so it becomes familiar and eventually automatic.
Set an intention to be more self-compassionate and you will be amazed at how much your everyday, ordinary, life improves. Taking on self-compassion lightens the load, makes each day a little brighter, and softens the ups and downs of life. It helps you to feel compassion for others more easily.
Ways to Practice Self-Compassion:
Counteract every negative thought with a positive one. For example, if you find yourself being hard on yourself, remind yourself how you have been through difficulties before and have come out simply fine.
Make sure to compliment yourself on a job well done, just as you would anyone else and don’t feel guilty for being proud of yourself and your accomplishments.
Treat yourself to something nice or do something nice for yourself.
Take the time to practice self-compassion regularly. Don’t think of it as selfishness, it’s not. It’s a necessary part of being able to feel compassion for others.
Compassion to Others
Take notes in a journal whenever you see people being compassionate to others. It will help you to learn how you can apply those same principles to other people yourself.
Take a little time every so often throughout your busy day and ask yourself where and how you can show compassion in any particular situation. It makes us more kind and caring.
Instead of reacting to someone else’s negative mood, take a moment to ask them if they are okay. It may be that their negative mindset is really a cry for help,wanting someone to listen or even for someone to simply ask!
Compassion as a Habit
Being aware of where, how, and when you can apply compassion to both self and others is the perfect way to now create compassion as a habit.
Observe other people to see if anyone needs help, then ask yourself who needs your compassion.
Take note of incidences of compassion.
Take on these practices and before you know it, compassion will become a natural part of your life.
The Benefits of Compassion
Compassion boosts your health and well-being. There are so many benefits to becoming and being compassionate both for yourself and for others:
You feel good about yourself, exude more confidence and have a gentler, kinder demeanor.
You feel more gratitude for all you have in your own life.
You attract more positive people, situations, and good experiences in your life.
Your health improves giving you more energy and good life experiences increase, then you sleep better too.
You contribute to other’s wellbeing by showing compassion. They no longer feel alone and feel understood
Other kind and compassionate will be drawn to you as you create a ripple of compassion, that positively affects many people.
You become a role model for others on how to treat themselves and improve their relationships.
You create a ripple of compassion, that positively affects many people.
How Being More Compassionate Changes Your Life
Being Compassionate to yourself as a new way of being and brings improvement to many areas of your life. When you are compassionate to yourself, you reap the benefits and the rewards.
Self-Compassion gives you the opportunity to care and look after your own needs by being kind and gentle to yourself when necessary. Sometimes we do not reach our goal, sometimes the actions of others impact us negatively. So we make mistakes, forget things, lose our cool, overreact.
Understanding the basic fact that we are human, allows us to be kind and compassionate and ask ourselves what we learned from experience.
It is a better use of energy. Feeding a negative mindset when things go wrong takes a lot of energy as it takes hold and the mind goes into a downward spiral.
Focussing on the positive allows us to learn from mistakes and events so we can move forward more quickly rather than dwelling on our mistakes. We can learn and grow which is the real definition of life.
More importantly, when we show ourselves compassion, we train others to do the same.
If we are continually down on ourselves it makes others react towards us in the same way. In effect, you are giving permission to others to treat you badly.
The Impact of Compassion on Your Relationships
While most of us are interested in changing and improving our lives for the better, it’s good to consider that compassion affects our relationships too.
Navigating through life means taking responsibility for our actions as well as our interactions with others.
Showing compassion offers us the opportunity to make a difference to someone else’s life. People need to know we understand and that we are there for them when they go through trials in life. Sometimes all that’s needed is a listening ear, knowing someone cares and receiving sympathy for their predicament. It can bolster a person enough to pick themselves back up and carry on.
What is better than being a contributing factor to changing the direction of someone else’s life? Now that is powerful!
Giving compassion to others makes us feel good too. So it is a win/win situation.
So make a difference to yourself and others by creating a habit of compassion.
So many new habits to learn that can help others as well as ourselves to become happier as our life transforms.