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How To Be Compassionate

Updated on March 2, 2013

How Can Compassion Benefit You?

I did an experiment. Not with volcanoes and lava or beakers and test tubes, but with compassion. I took a week to see if being compassionate would really make me happier in my life.

The verdict: Being compassionate can definitely help us be happier with ourselves, other people, and the world around us.

Being compassionate simply means to empathize towards other people and understand where they are coming from.

I used compassion with my family, friends, dogs, and strangers, and for the most part it alleviated negative feelings towards them and replaced them with a calmer outlook towards why they do what they do.

It helped me get out of my bubble and look at the world from another perspective.

I firmly believe that being compassionate is beneficial to your health and happiness, so read on for some tips on how to be compassionate no matter what the issue is.

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How To Be Compassionate With Yourself

I think that this is the most important step to becoming compassionate. If you can't be compassionate with yourself, then who can you be compassionate with?

But how do you become compassionate with yourself? Well, the same way you would be compassionate with your best friend, family member, or lover.

First, understand when you are being critical of yourself or hard on yourself. This may not always be easy to do, because you can easily get wrapped up in your thoughts and let them take over.

It is important to be able to listen to your body cues and your emotions to gauge how hard you are being on yourself.

I find that meditation is a great way to live in the moment and be aware of how you are feeling and how your thoughts are affecting you.

Once you realize you are being hard on yourself, you can start to be compassionate with yourself.

1. Avoid Criticism and Judgment

You would look at your best friend and try to make them feel bad for feeling upset. You would be kind and supportive. You would say things like, "Everyone makes mistakes" or "Things will get better." You would be loving towards them, and that's how you should be towards yourself.

2. Don't Nag Yourself

Would you pester your best friend about a situation over and over again? Lets say that they thought they were fat, would you say things like, "Oh, you look horrible today!"

But would you say it to yourself?

I imagine most of us would and do, and that is where self compassionate comes in. Instead of being your own worst enemy, try to talk to yourself like a friend would. Tell yourself that you are beautiful, charming, and irresistible.

3. Remember We Are All Imperfect

There is no one in this world that is perfect. To beat yourself up over things that you find wrong or did wrong is ridiculous. It's like saying, "I should have been perfect!"

We all make mistakes. You have to accept that you are going to screw up and look past your mistakes.

4. Be The Consistent Rock In Your Life

You are always there for yourself. Always. When you go to bed, you are there. When you go to work, you are there. When you wake up, go to the gym, take a shower - you are there. So why not be your biggest supporter in life?

How To Be Compassionate With Jerks

Jerks are just people with a lot of problems. They are unhappy in some way and they take their frustration out on the rest of the world.

There are a lot of least where I live. They are ready to make you feel bad for no reason, and they are good at it!

Because jerks can set off an instant and automatic emotion of anger in you, the best way to be compassionate with jerks is to do a three step process.

1. Breathe - When you take the time to breath, you allow your body and your mind to 'cool down' and avoid becoming more angry or anxious. The trick is not to do an arrogant breath because that just sends the message to both yourself and the jerk that you are trying to match them in their attitude.

2. Realize that you are not the problem - When they try to make you feel bad for something ridiculous, realize that you are not the problem. You didn't cause them to become angry, they did. They do this from their beliefs and opinions, and guess what...that doesn't make them right.

Once you are able to see that they have the issue, not you, you can take a step back and separate yourself from them instead of becoming wrapped up in their negativity.

3. Take a minute to feel their emotions - You may not know exactly where they are coming from or what caused them to become so angry and upset, but you do know that there is something wrong with them or they would not be acting out towards you.

Anyone who is calm and loving and feeling good will not react negatively to something that doesn't call for it. Try being an empath for a minute. Take the time to feel how unhappy the feel and understand what an ugly place that is to be in.

After that, you may need to continue the conversation or interaction with them if they are your boss, family member, or someone that you just can't get away from, but at least you are able to be compassionate about the fact that they are coming from an ugly place, and this should allow you to handle them in a more positive and understanding manner.

After That It's A Piece Of Cake

I found that after you are able to be compassionate with yourself and with real jerks, you can easily be compassionate for almost everyone in between.

There are some people that will push your buttons and you will have a hard time understanding and relating to.

For me, it is people who use other people or rip people off. For example, I just can't relate to someone who feels they can scam someone out of hundreds of thousand of dollars.

And I definitely can't relate to someone who wants everything for nothing. I personally get this a lot with freelance writing. People want everything for as little as possible - well under what it is worth.

However, being compassionate does help you to realize that they must have a reason for doing so, and it allows you to let go of the total judgement or anger you have towards them.

You will likely have your own type of personality that you have a hard time being compassionate with.

In the end, remember that they are who they are for a reason and that is something that will help you at least understand that they are coming from somewhere different than you.

Having compassion for others really boils down to understanding that they are suffering, then wanting them to be free from suffering.

I personally cannot stand to see people suffering, in big or small breaks my heart, and when you look at someone with compassion like this (even yourself), it can help you treat people better (including yourself) and live a happier life.

We Are All United: A Reason To Be Compassionate


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    • Relationshipc profile image

      Kari 5 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Yes Janet,. Even today when I was shopping I noticed a tired looking woman who looked grumpy and I was instantly able to see that she was unhappy, not just angry. Having compassion allowed me to treat her well instead of acting frustrated or angry back.

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 5 years ago from Georgia country

      Thank you for this interesting hub. I'm a very compassionate person. It really can help you understand and treat other people better.

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 5 years ago from Philippine

      Great hub everybody should read this

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 5 years ago


      Thanks for the tips

      on ways to be more compassionate

      with your loved one or even a friend

      voted up

    • Relationshipc profile image

      Kari 5 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Hey Faith, it really woul dbe an amazing world with total compassion.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 5 years ago from southern USA

      What an insightful hub here on compassion. Yes, just as His mercies are new each and every morning with each of us, we should show compassion for others, as we really do not know what they are truly going through in this life. This world would be such a lot more nicer place in which to live no doubt!

      Excellent write! Voted way UP ++++ and sharing

      God bless you. In His Love, Faith Reaper