Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” Among emotion researchers, it is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.
This is a word for a very positive emotion that has to do with being thoughtful and decent. Giving to a charity takes compassion. Volunteering to work with sick people or animals takes compassion. When you have it, you’re putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and really feeling for them. Anytime a disaster like a hurricane or earthquake hits, others will feel compassion for the victims. When you feel such emotion for someone, you really want to help out
Some signs that you have such supportive emotion for others include –
• Feeling like you have a great deal in common with other people, even if you are very different in many ways.
• Being able to understand what other people are going through and feeling their pain.
• Being mindful of other people’s emotions, thoughts, and experiences.
• Taking action when you see that someone else is suffering.
• Having a high level of emotional intelligence so that you are able to understand, manage, and act on your own emotions as well as the emotions of others.
• Feeling gratitude when other people express compassion for your own hardships.
What is the difference between mercy and compassion?
Mercy is the compassionate treatment of those in distress. Mercy is the fruit of compassion. It’s the gift given to the suffering by those living out their compassion.
It often comes in one of two forms, which vary depending on where these feelings are directed. Your experience of compassion may be either directed toward other people, or it may be directed inwardly toward yourself:
• Compassion for others
When you experience this emotion for other people, you feel their pain and want to find a way to relieve their suffering. These feelings compel you to take action to do what you can to make the situation better.
This involves treating yourself with the same compassion and kindness that you would show to others. Rather than beating yourself up over mistakes you may have made in the past, you feel understanding, mindful, and accepting of yourself and your imperfections.
How to Practice Compassion?
There are a number of different steps you can take to show this emotion to others.
• Speak with kindness
• Apologize when you’ve made a mistake
• Listen carefully and without judgment
• Encourage other people
• Offer to help someone with a task
• Be happy for someone else’s success
• Accept people for who they are
• Forgive people for making mistakes
• Show respect
• Express gratitude and appreciation
• Be patient
When you practice it, you start by empathizing with another person’s situation. You look at what they are going through without judgment and imagine how you might feel in their situation.
This emotion can have a positive impact on your life, ranging from improving your relationships to boosting your overall happiness. Some of its positive effects includes –
• Giving feels good
Being the recipient of compassion can help you get the support you need to carry you through a difficult time. But giving compassion to others can be just as rewarding. For example, researchers have found that giving money to others who need it actually produces greater happiness rewards than spending it on ourselves.
• Compassionate people live longer
Engaging in activities such as volunteering to help those you feel compassion for can improve your longevity.
• Compassion contributes to a life of purpose
The happiness that comes from living a life of purpose and meaning—one that is fueled by kindness and compassion—can play a role in better health. The kind of happiness that comes from living a meaningful life that involves helping others—experienced lower levels of depression, stronger immunity, and less inflammation.
• Compassion improves relationships
It can also help you build the social support and connections that are important for mental well-being. It can also protect your interpersonal relationships.
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