As a nice continuation to yesterday’s topic, today’s focus is on Compassion. We’ve talked about Forgiveness & touched upon Compassion, now we will go into . In most cases, to be able to forgive you need to be able to feel compassion. These two go hand in hand & are two different slices of the same pie. Yummy.
So what is compassion?
Take sympathy & empathy for example. Empathy is putting yourself into someone else’s shoes; to truly imagine yourself in their position while sympathy is merely mirroring the same feeling of the other person, most common as a form of support. While both share positive qualities, one is not like the other. The same with Compassion& Pity. The two are different although they often get mistaken for each other.
When you pity someone, you may share their feelings & understand their plight. For example – seeing a homeless person on the street or a picture of a war-torn country will invoke feelings of sadness or wanting to do something to help. But in most cases, the feeling of pity is not followed up with action. It is merely a passing emotion. (If you DO see a homeless person next time, try to at least say hello, it might make their day.)
Pity involves a certain degree of understanding, which is a good start. But merely understanding a negative emotion without affirmative action is useless. It complies acceptance without making an effective action towards the subject. You are not making yourself a direct actor & the situation remains disassociated from yourself.
Many accept it as they feel like they cannot do anything to change it. This is a natural reaction because the subject at hand represents an issue & not many people want to familiarize themselves with an issue that may cause a disruption in their lives. It’s always better to leave it to others is the general train of thought. Unfortunately, this manner of thinking means that many problems remain unsolved.
The Bystander effect is a similar phenomenon. When an accident occurs, many people gather because on one level or another, they want to help. But what usually happens is that nothing gets done because everyone thinks ‘’oh, someone else will do it’’. When everyone thinks like that, you can see where it leads. So to counteract this effect, Someone takes charge & takes action. ‘’You call the ambulance!’’ ‘’You help me with this.’’ Only then will something change.
Compassion is when you are that Someone. If you take the word away from the etimology of sharing the pain, with comassion, you can see yourself as an individual with power to transform the situation, because you, unlikely the person who is afflicted by the cause of that compassion in the first place, could use a different prospective. When we practice Compassion, we lower the boundaries between ourselves & the situation, allowing us to take up a mantle of power.
The reality we know is usually a projection, filtered through the lens of our experiences & perspective. Taking away the boundaries is like removing the lens through which you filter the situation based on your emotions, personal beliefs, attachment. Sans lens, we then can perceive the situation objectively & for what it is or at list having a closer look.
When you embrace or comprehend the situation & understand that it is within your circle of influence (this may not be the case with every occasion, so use can your own judgement for this), you can either positively or negatively tip the scales. (We hope that you use your powers for good rather than evil though.)
Once we are in this state of comprehension, the issue then becomes a means to a solution & we suddenly have a whole range of possibilities to access. Now that we have all the ingredients we can start cooking!
It’s like trying to make a good coffee.
Compassion is being able to know & by extension, understand every ingredient in the recipe (situation) & what they can do. By understanding their characteristics, we then can blend them together in a harmonious way. Because this way, we understand what they can do individually & together. It’s all about maximizing the potential darling.
Pity is akin to looking at the coffee beans & pretending it’s (vegan) milk. If you look at it & say ‘’poor bean, look at you, you’ll never be able to froth up. Here, have some water’’ it will not work because it’s simply not the right ingredient. It’s a bean, it’s not milk. Similarly, the milk cannot be the bean. You cannot grind milk & try to pass it through a coffee filter.
Comprehension is knowing what the bean tastes like, how it will work with the milk & act accordingly. When you make this a priority, your coffee will turn out delicious.
Compassion requires honesty. By being honest at what you can do, at how your capabilities fit into the situation, only then can you be effective in solving the problem. It won’t do anyone any good if we overestimate our abilities. Establishing a good relationship with all the different ingredients in your life is essential to being less confused, making less (or better) mistakes & therefore efficient choices.
Sympathy is not a bad trait to have, but if it stops there, it doesn’t do a lot of help. As long as we continue to develop the awareness so that it blossoms into empathy & compassion, then we are making strides. Not only for our own personal growth but for the improvement of others.
Compassion does not include arrogance or the Ego. It is a humble profession that does not lord over the situations of other people. It does not assume that just because they are in a position to help, it means that they are ‘better’ or ‘more successful’ than those who need assistance. We are all human, we make mistakes & find ourselves in situations that are less than ideal.
Compassion is the simple understanding that one is in a position to help in whatever capacity they can for others who cannot. Whether it is giving someone $30 or picking up a hitchhiker. These simple acts of human kindness from the heart cost very little, but have a profit that come back tenfold. A smile & a hug, gratitude & sometimes even a gift! But we don’t do it for the reward, we do it because we can & want to. Because our Souls are fueled with love & kindness. We are Love incarnate. We deserve to give & receive love because Love is who we are.
So try to find an opportunity to practice compassion today & we hope you bring a smile to a face, especially your own!