Empathy and compassion are the essential building blocks of quality relationships. Not only do these qualities create connection between ourselves and others, it also makes an important impact on our wellbeing. When we see suffering and are compelled to act to reduce that suffering, we are being motivated by compassion.
When we bring the lens of compassion to the way we view disturbing events, difficult people and circumstances, we seek to make connection and understanding our goal. If we seek to understand and connect with each other, compassion is the gold standard for achieving this goal. We can judge others or we can have compassion, these are mutually exclusive states.
Compassion reminds us we are all in this together, humanity is sharing one planet and we all need to recognize our welfare and wellbeing is inextricably tied together. Our life flourishes when we feel part of a connected whole. When we feel isolated, alone and insignificant, we feel frightened, anxious and fearful. In essence these feelings create a self-fulfilling prophecy where judgement and condemnation become our viewpoint towards “others” that are “the problem”.
This lack of compassion further isolates us and makes us feel more scared and anxious. It becomes a vicious cycle. The way out of this is through compassion, both for ourselves and others. It starts with the idea that there might be a different way of viewing our own faults and foibles as well as the often-triggering behavior of others which tempt us into judgment. Simply stating in our minds and hearts, “I am willing to see this differently”, is a fantastic start. Our willingness is everything. We can make a daily practice out of this approach by addressing any situation that tempts us to judge, with this alternative intention: Please show me a compassionate alternative, I am willing to see this situation, person, circumstance with fresh eyes. As they say, ask and you shall receive