Compassion is going beyond your own concerns to help those in need. This can be done by offering to help, volunteering, anonymously giving to those in need, making time to listen to another, praying, giving hugs, or as simple as a smile. Compassion does not mean we lose ourselves in the process of helping others, but to be genuinely present with someone who needs your compassion. You may not understand what someone is going through so you can let them know that you don’t understand, but that you are trying to understand their situation. Compassion is making the effort to help when seeing someone suffer. It is knowing someone is truly trying and needs your help getting through some sort of difficulty. It is listening to someone’s heart. To be compassionate is the willingness to feel with your heart and not just with your mind. When you are truly compassionate towards another, they may not even respond, but they will feel the compassion coming from your heart. Compassion is not enabling. Compassion is love in action. What’s really wonderful is when you are compassionate and help others, you in turn are helping yourself. One of the best ways to get out of your own way is to help someone…showing them compassion.
It is important to remember to be compassionate with yourself. Sometimes in the midst of caring for others we forget about ourselves and put all of our needs to the side. This is unhealthy because you will eventually burn out if you are not compassionate with yourself while showing compassion to others. This can be somewhat tricky to balance at times, but you are worth your own compassion as well. Not being so hard on yourself, forgiving yourself, being able to let go of things that you keep stuffed inside are examples of how to be compassionate towards yourself.
Jesus, Mother Teresa, Jane Goodall, Florence Nightingale, Princess Diana, Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, and St. Francis of Assisi are just several of many compassionate people through time.
How have you shown compassion to yourself and others? Who do you feel has shown great compassion to others and our world?
“When we’re looking for compassion, we need someone who is deeply rooted, is able to bend and, most of all, embraces us for our strengths and struggles.” Brene Brown
“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” ~ Albert Einstein
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” ~ Jack Kornfield