Compassion, according to Merriam-Webster, refers to both an understanding of another’s pain and the desire to somehow mitigate that pain.
A recent review of medical research determined that doctors who treated patients compassionately improved the patients’ outcome. Even forty seconds was enough to matter. In return, doctors received a helper’s high, a good feeling that comes from serving others.
Compassion is the path to making this world better for everyone. How, then, can we improve our level of compassion?
Be self-compassionate. If you do not treat yourself with kindness and understanding,
Develop empathy. Empathy is the ability to get into others’ shoes and see the world as they see it. That does not mean you agree with their viewpoint, only that you understand it. To be empathetic, you must learn to listen.
Practice random acts of kindness. Being compassionate does not mean you have to give away all your possessions and live in poverty. Instead, look for ways to connect with others. Volunteer. Donate to charities. Help a person who can’t reach the jar at the top of the grocery shelf. In small ways, anyone can contribute to a compassionate world.
Remember, you did not cause the other person’s problem. Therefore, do not own it and appoint yourself responsible for fixing it. However, you can do something to ease the pain of his/her journey, even if it is just kind words or a smile.