You can only truly have compassion for another person when you are confronted with their suffering making you motivated enough to help relieve that suffering without the expectation of a reward. All of us at our core have a strong compassionate instinct. A natural and automatic response that ensures our survival.
Research has suggested that feelings of happiness and human flourishing, connecting with others in a meaningful way, helps us to enjoy better mental and physical health, as well as speed up recovery from illness, lengthening our life span. A compassionate lifestyle leads us to much greater psychological well-being because the act of giving often feels more pleasurable than the act of receiving.
In the words of Freddie Mercury, quote "Money may not buy happiness, but it can damn well give it!"
When we live our life focused on meaning and purpose, less about satisfying ourselves and more on satisfying others, it becomes a life rich in compassion with greater internal joy. If you think about this more deeply, feelings of compassion boost our feelings of well-being because they broadens our perspective beyond ourselves instead of self-focus which can often lead us to anxiety and depression. A constant preoccupation with self allows the lying mind to trick us into looking too deeply at our own faults, however a state of self-focus or self awareness shifts us to a state of having more empathy for others.
Once you begin to feel compassion for others this will lead you to tackle compassion for yourself, as well as forgive those who you may have had destructive feelings towards. Self-compassion is the hardest part in truth because it means having to take an honest look at your own behaviour to resolve potentially why you are self-destructing.
Try and think about a time in the past when you have felt depressed or down in the dumps and someone you know has called you with a problem they are having. You might recall, as your attention shifts from you to them, your mood is lifted because rather than feeling down, you begin to feel motivated and before you know it you gain some clarity and perspective about your own troubles.
Nurturing compassion begins with learning to meditate. It is not a coincidence that some of the greatest humanitarians in history all meditated daily. Meditation allows the brain to move naturally to feelings of kindness and compassion because it makes a shift in our consciousness, propelling us towards deeper perspective and greater things in life.
Learning to be still, quiet and alone allows you to put yourself more squarely in the shoes of others. It is often the little things in life that make the world a better place, so begin to develop a meditative mindset, show more compassion for others and start to see positive change in the world. Change your thoughts to change your life and then begin to make change in the world. Compassion is as vital as the air we breathe so if you want to be happy and you want others to be happy practice compassion daily.
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