How compassionate are we as a society? Sometimes, it seems it’s easier to find the opposite of compassion. In today’s busy doing world, we’ve forgotten the essence of compassion.
People can be rude, uncompromising, distracted, disconnected, demanding and stressed out!
Just the other day, an elderly man was trying to reverse park his car into a spot on Burke Rd. A P plater came hurtling down the road tooting her horn impatiently, as she had to wait until he parked.
Where was her compassion toward her elder?
The Benefits of Compassion
This seeming lack of outward compassion in everyday life is interesting given what researchers have discovered when they’ve explored the science of compassion.
According to Dr Jamil Zaki, a professor of psychology at Stanford, “humans are the champions of kindness” because our brains find it more valuable to do what’s in the interest of the group than to profit the self.
Other scientific research has found that compassion is crucial and beneficial for our survival. Acting for others gives us depth, purpose and is good for our health!
Top 3 Tips for Cultivating Compassion
The great news is that we can be trained to be compassionate. We’re not all born like Mother Teresa!
Here are my top three tips for creating more health and wellbeing in your life using compassion:
- Always leave a person feeling better than when you first met them
- Make a nice, sincere comment about them. As Mark Twain once said, ”I can live for two months on a good compliment”.
- Inquire about the person and show you are interested through active listening and asking questions. Too often, people fail to truly engage in a conversation because they’re busy working out what they want to say next.
- Ask if there is anything you can do for the This is a simple but extremely powerful gesture.
- Don’t take on other people’s emotions and negative attitudes
- It’s easy to get reactive or defensive when someone isn’t acting the way they should be. But try to remember that people are usually not directing anger directly at you, so cut them some slack and use it as an opportunity to practice compassion.
- We tend to rebuke those we love the most. It’s because we feel comfortable enough to do so. If you keep this in mind, things will stay harmonious with the people closest to you.
- People’s attitudes are a product of their circumstances, society and beliefs. Their conditioning is not the real them. So don’t get caught up or hooked into it
- Practise compassion to yourself, not just others. Instead of judging yourself for all the things that don’t work, ask yourself what is working in your life.
- Don’t compare yourself to others who are doing better, but look upon those who are doing worse and have gratitude for what you have. Forgive yourself for not being good enough or worthy enough. You can simply say, “I forgive myself for judging myself” (state what it is………………………… ) and I hand over my self-judgement to……………… (whatever works for you, God Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, the winds of love, a pink bubble).
An Invitation to Create More Compassion in our Lives
Compassion is an action (not just a word), and I would like to experience more of it in my life. How about you?
If you would like to have more compassion in your life, try out these top three tips, write them in a journal or on a poster at work! Go for gold and let me know how you go.