“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” – Dalai Lama
We often confuse empathy with compassion. To empathize with someone means that we understand what another individual is going through. On the other hand, compassion is to understand those feelings, and put into action something that will help to relieve the pain of the one who needs it.
For instance, whenever there is a death in the family or someone is ill, my neighbor will cook meals for a week or more for me and my family. She knows that no one will be in the frame of mind to do anything – let alone cook.
If my neighbor finds out that I am under the weather, she always takes time out of her day to help. She may even come over with vapor rub and tea in hand just so she can help take care of me when I’m sick. She has always been the type of person who helps others when she knows someone is in need. It’s not just my family she treats this way, she does it for all of the neighbors.
We would do the same for her.
How compassionate are you?
- Are you willing to put yourself in someone else’s shoes? It doesn’t have to be a person close to you. It could be a stranger on the street. If you saw someone grip their chest and fall out in the street, would you keep going or stop to assist them, call 911 and stay with them until the ambulance arrives? (You immediately think to yourself – that if something like this happens, you wouldn’t want to be left on the street. So, you immediately see yourself as that person on the ground and spring into action to save him/her).
- Can you put another person’s needs first? It’s similar to putting yourself in other people’s shoes – but not quite. Let’s say that you have been waiting all week to go out with friends. There’s a knock at your door and it’s a crying friend who is going through something major. You can look at her and see that she is going through a huge amount of emotional pain. A person filled with compassion would invite her in and cancel your plans. You loan her a pair of pajamas and you talk it through until she becomes sleepy.
Each and every one of us has the ability to show some form of compassion. This quote is saying that if you can help someone don’t hesitate – if you can’t help them just be there, You don’t have to leave them hanging or feeling alone and hopeless. It is okay to put someone else’s needs over your own.
Thank you for reading. Have a great weekend.