This year has been interesting from the very beginning.
There are very few things that I think we can all agree would help make us better people and make life better for everyone else.
Two of those things are compassion and empathy. Today we will focus on compassion.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Compassion is “sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it”
Being compassionate helps you see yourself and others as human beings who all have needs, wants, and problems that they are trying to solve.
Compassion brings both short and long-term happiness. Showing compassion not only allows you to feel better, but it helps those around you to feel better, too. Since we all want to be happy, showing compassion can be a common goal for everyone.
Cultivating compassion is a worthwhile goal. It’s a significant part of being human and can make you more grateful for the many good things you already have in your life.
How can we be more compassionate?
- Have good intentions. Each day, simply have the intention of being compassionate and showing compassion to everyone you encounter. Make it a part of your morning ritual to remind yourself to be compassionate.
- Before you go to sleep at night, reflect on how you were compassionate or failed to show compassion that day. Remind yourself again to be compassionate the next day.
- Focus on the similarities you share with others. Human brains are great at spotting differences. However, we have to make a conscious effort to spot the similarities.
- When you find yourself feeling less than happy with someone, try to list as many things as you can that you share in common.
- Remember that all humans are similar in the ways that matter. For example, we all need love, attention, happiness, affection, food, and shelter.
- Be empathetic. With everything happening in our lives, it’s easy to focus on ourselves and ignore the plight of others. Consider the similarities that others share with your loved ones. Now imagine your loved one is suffering.
- If you can see another person as being similar to your loved one, it will become easy to be sensitive to their suffering.
- Keep in mind that another person is someone else’s loved one.
- How would you want your loved one to be treated during a challenging time?
Be compassionate with yourself. You might have noticed that the least compassionate people are those that are the hardest on themselves. If you won’t give yourself a break when you need it, you’re less likely to do it for someone else.
- Appreciate yourself and the challenges that you’ve experienced in your own life. You’ll become more capable of doing the same for others, too.
- Recognize that time you spend on yourself is time well spent. Refrain from viewing it as an act of selfishness. You’re just as important as anyone else.
- Let go of needing to be perfect. Nobody’s perfect, so it’s a game that can’t be won. If you’ll stop demanding perfection of yourself, you’ll stop requiring others to be perfect, too.
- Be fully present with others. The ultimate kindness is to be 100% present with someone. It’s also a great time to practice being mindful. Be supportive and a good listener without thinking any stray thoughts.
- It’s not always easy to stay in the moment when someone is hurting, but you’ll be a better person for it.
- Remember the times that others have been kind to you. Perhaps you can do the same favor for someone else.
- Remember the times that others have been unkind to you. Perhaps you can spare someone else from feeling the same pain.
Being compassionate is really a gift you give to yourself. When you’re kinder to others, you learn to be kinder to yourself. You also encourage others to take an interest in your life and to direct compassion back in your direction.
If you’d like to learn more about compassion or just want to be around others who wish to be more compassionate, join me in the Compassion and Action Free Facebook group. We will discuss why compassion is important, ways we can practice compassion, unconscious bias and how it impacts our daily lives, and how mindfulness can improve our ability to be compassionate. Join me now: Compassion and Action