The definition of compassion is the concern for the suffering or misfortunes of others. It is a word that means so much and is well known. However, so very few of us actually practice it. The pace of the world continues to speed up. Our lives become more impersonal with every new app or e-commerce option. Yet, suffering and misfortune continue as they always have. Let’s take a moment to discuss why it is so important for others as well as yourself to have compassion.
The world requires compassion for survival. Some may disagree and respond with “only the strong survive.” Seems that many people forget that eventually, even the strong become the weak. Some sooner than others and through no fault of their own. Without a genuine caring for your fellow human beings, we would live in a purely egocentric world where there would be no consideration or thought for one another. The world can be a very cold place as it is. Showing a bit of compassion can help it feel a bit warmer even for that one person.
It requires you to think about someone other than yourself. Compassion goes beyond empathy. True compassion means you are genuinely concerned and present when it comes to someone else’s situation. You see their pain and suffering and you recognize and care about what they are going through. It is a 2 way street. This requires you to stop being self-absorbed and pay attention to someone else. Even if it is temporary.
It puts things in perspective and often lessens anxieties and fears for both parties. Being compassionate towards an individual who is going through something terrible really puts your own life in perspective. Maybe the guy that cut you off this morning isn’t worth talking about considering some of the plights your fellow man is going through. For the person you are showing compassion to, they feel recognized and valued. They do not feel like a forgotten statistic or a crack in the sidewalk you just step over. It takes away fears and anxiety from both parties as we tend to realize we are not alone in our struggles and others care.
More compassionate societies are often happier. There is no denying that the world is and has always been dog eat dog. Whether you are in the most utopian society you can imagine or not, life always has the ability to knock you down and try and keep you there. Sickness, poverty, mental illness, violence. The list is seemingly endless. Yet, those societies that recognize and care for the ones who are in the struggle tend to be happier. Having a purpose other than to put food in your own mouth (figuratively and literally) is a powerful thing. The best part is, both parties seem to benefit.
It improves your work and your personal life as it creates better communication. When you show compassion, you are generally opening up more to the other party and in return, they are opening up to you. This in itself allows for better and healthier communication. It may be with your best friend in a deep convo or, it may be with one of your employees who just has not been performing as of late. Improved social relationships are a benefit in all aspects of life.