“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
During our lifetime we all will encounter a wide variety of people, some are mean spirited but most are not. Some are really smart and are fun to listen to. Others are just good people getting by without hate or anger and doing the best they can. For me the people who have impressed me the most are those who are truly compassionate. These are people who regularly practice kindness without ulterior motive. They don’t have big egos rather they mostly avoid recognition. These are the folks you want as friends and to join your family through marriage.
Equally important is learning the benefits than come from being compassionate. Not through material reward but via personal wellbeing. I think many of the troubles so many folks face these days would disappear if the truly compassionate were in charge. Here is an article written by psychiatrist Kavetha Sundaramoorthy that can benefit us all.
6 Ways to Deepen Your Compassion to Help Other People
I thought I understood compassion. Having spent ten years of my life training to be a psychiatrist, I knew how to define it, describe it, and think about it. I thought I got it.
A few years ago, my brother was diagnosed with a serious mental illness. Being the mental health professional of the family, I took a long break to be with him as he navigated the initial stages of treatment. This experience taught me that compassion is more than being nice to someone for a few minutes or hours. True compassion is hard work, but it’s worthwhile. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” In trying to help him, I too was changed for the better.
Among the many things I tried as part of the process, some worked. Here are the top six that have stood the test of time.
Often while listening to someone, we are formulating replies in our mind, waiting for a lull in the conversation so we can interject. Try instead to just listen. Suspend all judgment and give the person your undivided attention. There is powerful healing in sharing your darkest secrets and having another person truly hear it and still love you.
Respond to the emotion, not the actual words.
Angry words may conceal fear; guilt may hide behind blame. Whenever I tried to refute my brother’s literal words, he became more insistent. When I tried to understand and respond to the underlying emotion, he began to trust and open up.
Get your own support system.
I’m a firm believer that we can only give unconditional love when we can receive it too. Make sure to get out, do things with people you love, and continue to experience life. Replenish your soul.
Remember the whole person.
When someone is spiraling into a negative path, you could lose sight of all their positive qualities. Make it a point to remind yourself, at that moment, of a particular strength she/he has. May be it’s his loyalty, or humor, or patience. See the whole person.
Put yourself in that situation mentally.
Suffering is universal. Almost all of us have felt joy and pain. The particular details may be unique, but the themes are universal. So, remind yourself of a time when you went through something related.
Meditate on this and remind yourself of every single emotion and worry you had, and how much you longed for empathy and compassion from a fellow traveler. Do this often, so that it becomes second nature.
You will fail sometimes, so forgive yourself.
Have compassion for yourself too. No one is perfect. Give yourself a break if you come up short sometimes. Remember you are just as human as anyone else. As long as your intentions and efforts are in the right direction most times, it will work out in the end.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
Bernie and Esther were not the most religious Jews and in fact they really only went to Temple once a year. As they were leaving the Temple, the Rabbi said, “Bernie, it sure would be nice to see you and Esther here more than once a year!”
“I know,” replied Bernie, “but at least we keep the Ten Commandments.”
“That’s great,” the Rabbi said. “I’m glad to hear that you keep the Commandments.”
“Yep,” Bernie said proudly, “Esther keeps six of them and I keep the other four.”
A child will not spill on a dirty floor.
Bill, Jim & Scott were at a convention together & were sharing a large suite on the top of a 75-story skyscraper. After a long day of meetings, they were shocked to hear that the elevators in their hotel were broken & they would have to climb 75 flights of stairs to get to their room.
Bill said to Jim & Scott, “Let’s break the monotony of this unpleasant task by concentrating on something interesting. I’ll tell jokes for 25 flights, Jim can sing songs for the next 25 flights and Scott can tell sad stories for the rest of the way.”
At the 26th floor, Bill stopped telling jokes & Jim began to sing. At the 51st floor Jim stopped singing & Scott began to tell sad stories.
“I will tell my saddest story first,” he said. “I left the room key in the car!!!
“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”
“He never won immortal fame
Nor conquered earthly ills,
Yet men weep for him all the same
He always paid his bills.”
Opportunity may only knock once, but temptation raps for years.
She said: Rosemary, my sister, went to the department store to check out the bridal registry of our niece whose wedding was coming up soon. When my sister returned from the store, she tossed the gift list on a table and declared, “I think she’s too young to get married.”
“Why do you say that?” I asked.
“Because,” Lisa said, “they’ve registered for Nintendo games.
Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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