What Is Compassion?
What Is Compassion?

In the simplest of terms, compassion is a feeling that we experience when we see someone else in pain and want to help them. When you feel this for yourself or others, it can motivate us to take action and alleviate their suffering. It’s important that we notice the feelings of compassion within ourselves so that we can use them as a guidepost to help us navigate our lives with mindfulness and intention.

What is compassion?

According to Psychology Today, “Compassion is an empathic understanding of a person’s feelings, accompanied by altruism, or a desire to act on that person’s behalf.” Put simply:

Compassion is a feeling that you relate to someone’s condition and want to assist them. You notice someone in difficulty and feel compelled to help.

You could assist someone who dropped their shopping basket on the ground, for example. Every little thing you do throughout the day might help to offset negative sentiments.

It’s not simply different from the basic definition of “kindness,” in that compassion implies seeing yourself in the other person’s shoes. It’s possible to be nice for practical reasons without any genuine concern for the other person’s agony. But, most often, there is a connection.

Compassion is a type of kindness that stems from an understanding of other people as real, feeling individuals. It doesn’t have to be spectacular. You don’t need to give up your possessions and become a social worker in order to practice compassion.

Compassion can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including giving up a seat to a pregnant woman, being polite to retail personnel, assisting your friend with his or her move, and taking the time to listen at work. By doing acts of kindness for others on a daily basis, you can accomplish everything from bringing a grin to someone’s face to preventing burnout, even your own.

A selfless act can be anything, as long as the motivation is pure. Your primary aim should be to prevent other people from suffering.

Signs of compassion

Some signs that you have compassion for others include:

  1. You feel as though you have a lot in common with other people, even if you are very different from them.
  2. Knowing how to empathize with others and feel their anguish.
  3. Keep an open mind about other people’s feelings, ideas, and experiences.
  4. When you witness someone else in pain, do something.
  5. Having a strong emotional intelligence so that you can recognize, control, and act on your own emotions as well as those of others.
  6. Gratitude may be cultivated by focusing on the positive aspects of life.

Types of compassion

Compassion can manifest itself in one of two ways, depending on the target of the emotions. Depending on whether your compassion is directed toward others or inwardly to yourself, it may be known as altruism or empathy.:

Compassion for others: When you experience compassion for others, you not only comprehend their pain but also want to discover a solution to help them. These sentiments drive you to take action in order to make things better.

Self-compassion: It means treating yourself with the same tenderness and care that you would extend to others. You feel accepting of yourself and your flaws rather than beating yourself up for past errors.

The effect of compassion

Compassion can have a beneficial influence on your life, from enhancing your relationships to improving your general happiness. The following are some of the advantages of compassion:

Giving feels good: Compassionate acts may provide significant psychological benefits, one of which is enhanced well-being. It’s possible that being the beneficiary of goodwill will assist you in receiving the assistance you require to get through a difficult situation. Giving compassion to others may be just as gratifying.

Compassionate people live longer: Volunteering, for example, can extend your life by helping people you feel empathy for. People who volunteer out of care for others tend to live longer than those who do not, according to one research.

Compassion contributes to a life of purpose: According to one study, the joy derived from living a life of purpose and meaning—one fueled by compassion and kindness—may aid in better health. Eudaimonic happiness, or the type of satisfaction that comes from flourishing in a meaningful way and assisting others, was linked to lower levels of depression, stronger immunity, and less inflammation in study participants.

Compassion improves relationships: Compassion may also help you develop the social support and contacts that are crucial for mental well-being. It can also help you maintain your personal connections. Compassion is one of the most important predictors of relationships’ success and enjoyment, according to research.

Compassion is the ingredient that makes a happy relationship, according to one research published in Emotion. Surprisingly, the study discovered that while people get the most advantages when their partner recognizes their acts of generosity, they may also profit whether or not their partner is aware of it. These results indicate that compassion may be its own reward.

How to Be More Compassionate

Some people are naturally kinder, but experts also recommend that you can work on developing greater compassion for both yourself and others by taking certain measures.:

Bring your attention to the situation: The first step in developing compassion is to be more aware of what other people are going through. Consider what it would be like if you were in their position. Being able to put oneself in the shoes of another person may help you develop compassion for their circumstances. Consider how you would feel if someone were to put you in their position. Consider how they may be feeling.

Let go of judgment: Accepting others for who they are, avoiding judgment, and appreciating them as they are is critical. Focus on accepting people for who they are rather than blaming the victim or criticizing them.

Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is a technique of being more aware of your own thoughts, as well as the thoughts that go through your mind. Researchers have discovered that mindfulness-based therapies may help people develop more compassion for themselves.

Try loving-kindness meditation: Compassion meditation, also known as loving-kindness meditation, is a type of meditation in which you focus on yourself or others while sending kind thoughts to them. This type of meditation has been shown to help people develop a closer relationship with others and increase their well-being.


Compassion makes you more sensitive to the feelings of others and encourages prosocial actions that may benefit both your physical and mental health. Some people are naturally more compassionate than others, but there are things you can do to increase your own capacity for compassion. Compassion is not an easy feeling to come by, but it does have a lot of benefits in everyday life.

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