Compassion is such a powerful and healing force. One might even say that it is next to godliness because it makes no distinction or judgements about ethnicity, race, social class, age or gender; it accepts all. We all deserve some compassion, and we all need to practice showing it as well, because a society can’t function properly without it.
What are the Benefits of Being Compassionate?
1. Compassion helps you to accept the differences in others and build stronger relationships.
2. Compassion helps you to be more open-minded while enlarging your perception of the world.
3. Compassion improves the quality of your life by giving you a sense of fulfillment and making you happier.
4. As you seek to relieve suffering through compassion, you learn to understand yourself better as well as the people around you.
5. Compassion is contagious because it inspires the people around you to act with kindness.
6. Compassion boosts health and longevity.
7. Self-compassion neutralizes the negative effects of stress.
8. Compassion helps you to incorporate important lessons learned in life from other people.
How to be More Compassionate
1. Practice self-compassion
If you are an individual who tends to be too hard on yourself, then you need to practice self-compassion. That harsh inner critic that judges you every single time you make a mistake is not very helpful. We are imperfect beings, so making mistakes is part of our human nature. If we can’t realize that about ourselves, it will be difficult to be compassionate when other people reveal their humanness.
Accepting and acknowledging your humanness would be a good place to start. Forgive yourself, let yourself off the hook and be there for yourself. Meditation can also be very beneficial because it helps you to be more aware of yourself. It is only when you are able to accept your own flaws, forgive yourself, and show yourself some kindness, that you will be able to truly do that for others.
2. Separate the deed from the doer
How do you practice compassion when someone has hurt you or broken your trust? Or how do you accept people who have completely different opinions than you do? That can be really difficult at times, but it does not have to be, if you practice this exercise – try to separate the person from their behavior or their action. This does not excuse wrongdoing, but it helps you to be more compassionate and forgiving.
The fact that someone hurt you does not necessarily mean that s/he is a bad person. Or the fact they have opposing mindsets does not mean they are wrong. Instead of judging them and thinking of them as less than, try to be more curious about them as human beings. Why did she react this way? Is he going through something I don’t know about? Is he having these beliefs because of the traumatizing experiences he went through in the past? This will help you see people differently, and act more compassionately.
3. Put yourself in their shoes
This is one of the most powerful lessons learned in life that can help you to be more compassionate towards others. But what does it really mean to put yourself in other people’s shoes? This means that you should try to see things through their own perspectives. It is not about agreeing with the other person (though it could happen), it is about understanding their reasons or motivations for acting in a particular way. It is about asking yourself if you would have acted in the same way; if you were put in the same situation, and had been raised in a similar fashion, or have had similar life experiences.
How can you do this? Learn to listen more than you speak. Don’t just listen with the intent to reply, do it to understand the person first. Another tip is to remind yourself that everyone is facing challenges even though it might not always seem like that is the case.
Practicing these valuable lessons learned in life will help you to be more accepting; and therefore, more compassionate towards other people as well as yourself. It is never too late to make a positive shift in the right direction.