We live in a world missing in compassion. The sad reality of humanity is that the huge majority of people ignore the suffering of others. Perhaps many turn a blind eye for their own survival. Witnessing the suffering of another person can induce the raw emotion of fear or sadness or repulsion. Too often, people are disconnected or blind.
What is compassion?
It has two components. First, compassion means to put yourself in another person’s shoes, and ask yourself the following: What if I were that person? How would I feel? So, compassion means to develop an awareness of the suffering in another person.
Compassion has a second component. Once you have an awareness of the suffering, you must respond suitably. To do nothing is not compassion. So, compassion also means to embrace the golden rule—treat others as you desire to be treated. Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you. If you witness someone who is in pain, or requires assistance, or asks for help, you must come to their aid, you must lend a hand, you must help. In some small way, you must help the person alleviate his or her suffering.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. HH Dalai Lama
Compassion is an innate human quality, according to researchers. Therefore, we are all born with the tendency to be generous and kind to others.
However, as we age, all of us face challenging circumstances and feel emotional pain at one time or another. These experiences can stand in the way of our natural compassion. That’s because it’s hard to feel love and compassion for others when we feel empty ourselves.
How does compassion affect us?
The good news is that compassion is like a muscle that can be strengthened with practice. And more good news, it has proven mental health benefits.
- Increased happiness
- Greater optimism
- More positive mood
- Decreased stress
- Stronger personal initiative
- A sense of curiosity and exploration
- Better ability to relate to others
The reason a compassionate lifestyle leads to greater psychological well-being may be that the act of giving appears to be as pleasurable as the act of receiving, if not more so. In addition to happiness and love, we all want more time and money.
However intriguing new studies show that, when we do compassion, our sense of time expands; and when we give money away, our sense of abundance and wealth also increases.
Anyone who has ever engaged in helping someone knows that the sense of satisfaction and fulfillment that ensues is a happiness far beyond that of any material good or success. It’s on another level of well-being altogether. just how satisfying and fulfilling that experience can be.
Material goods may give us fun short-term pleasure but that long-term happiness and fulfillment lie less in what we can take than what we can give. Compassion may just be the best-kept secret to being not just happy but also healthy, wealthy, and wise.