Compassion is a genuine concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. It is a human trait innate to us all. Children cry when they see other children crying. Even adults get moved to tears at appropriate moments.
Unfortunately, compassion is overlooked due to years of desensitization (speaking for myself). My skins got thick, ears deaf, and eyes blind when it comes to this innate feeling. I therefore feel a need to generate some rules for me to reawaken my compassion.
And these rules are as follows:
- Don’t judge
- Accept or embrace suffering
- Practice with self first
Notice. Sufferings is all around us. People suffer in silence day-in and day-out. Open your eyes and hearts and pay attention to those around you – an elderly person having difficulties opening a pill bottle, a lonely child stood solo in the playground, or perhaps a coworker lost a proposal.
Don’t Judge. Judging is a force of habit we got ingrained along our upbringing. This habit helps us navigate around and avoid dangers. It contributes to our assessment of our external world/ situation. But when it comes to compassion, judging has no place.
Listen. Listening with an intend to understand, not to reply. Words alone are inadequate. Listen for meaning and feeling. If ever in doubt, check the previous two rules. You will be surprised how useful is this skill that benefits in more ways than one.
Accept or embrace sufferings. Sufferings is part of life whether we want it or not. It is inherent in our destiny. Instead of fighting/ avoiding it, best to face the reality and accept the fact. Work with what is in our hearts. Embrace the feelings. Otherwise, the sufferings will only worsen.
Practice with self first. Self compassion is too often neglected (again speaking for myself). We are our own best and worst judge. No body knows us better. And yet we are hardest on ourselves and least forgiving. Without self compassion, it is difficult to practice it with others.
These rules are based on my observations. They are not hard and fast but reminders for my daily living. With practice perhaps I can find my way back to compassion.
How do you practice compassion? Toward self? Suggestions?