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Compassionate living - Are you ready for Compassionate living

Updated on May 4, 2011

How compassionate are you?


Compassion is one of the greatest human qualities that every human being needs to possess. Compassion, unlike pity, it is the ability to feel deep sympathy for another person, so much so that you are willing to go the extra mile to help any human being in need. Compassion is coined from the Latin word “cum” meaning with and “pati” meaning to bear or suffer. In total it means to suffer with, I can only equate it with empathy. It is a strangely deep and stirring word that we use in a very light and superficial way. I wonder how many of us would go that extra mile for another human being? Many of us are willing to give advice and counsel others, but to be able to go all the way to make someone comfortable is not something many of us would venture out to do. We all have our families, responsibilities and stuff that keeps us so busy that we do not even have the time to consider the needs of others.


The face of compassion on this Earth


Thinking about compassion, one face comes to mind - the face of Mother Teresa. She was the face of compassion on the Earth, the one who could go not just an extra mile, but to the ends of the Earth to serve her fellow beings who were in need. A few years ago, on the weekends, we would regularly spend a day as a family with the Sisters of Charity, one of Mother Teresa’s organisations locally. This was a place where abandoned children were taken care of, called “Nirmala Shishu Bhavan”. At this place, we learnt what compassion truly is. The sisters and the little novices would carry, feed and care for each of these children, and most of them were abnormal or terribly sick in some ways. You would never see a wrinkle on their faces, as they went about, tending to each child’s needs. In fact, you would see them singing, smiling and happily playing with the babies. That is compassion indeed! Through those days, we learnt what it is to care for someone who is not yours and do it with a smile, and we were hugely rewarded with some of those babies getting so emotionally attached to us.


Learning to be compassionate - Lessons in compassionate living


We would also volunteer at the “Home for the Aged”, where most of the elderly people were destitutes, abandoned by the family and society. As we spent time with these elderly people, with our little baby, we would see tears and smiles simultaneously on their faces. Day after day, we would get to hear stories of how as parents they spent all their wealth and resources on educating their children, and then the child was gone to a far off land, abandoning their parents to a cruel fate. It was pure joy to sing and talk and read to them and entertain them in whatever ways we could and be rewarded with the brightest smiles and the biggest hugs that would come right from the hearts of those elderly people. That is how we got tuned in to compassion. Compassion is a learning process. It is the ability to be able to put others before yourself, to be willing to take awkwardness and grime, filth and thanklessness in your stride. You learn to do things for others without expecting anything in turn, not even gratitude. Your rewards come from the inner peace and satisfaction that you gain out of serving others.


Living compassionately everyday


Compassion in day to day living is yet another ball game. Here, you are forced to be compassionate to those whom you live with or interact with everyday. Sometimes, it is the closest of people who are the most difficult and it is indeed hard to show compassion to these individuals because they could easily take advantage of your goodness. Sometimes it seems that being compassionate is not the wisest of things to do. It is almost like exposing your vulnerable self to someone. The other day, I heard a friend of mine saying, “I’m a sucker for sad stories. When I hear someone tell me a sad story, I pull out my wallet.” I was reminded about the Chinese proverb, which says, “If you give a man a fish, he will have food for a day; if you teach him to fish, you would have saved his life.” I think that is where real compassion lies. That is compassion unlimited. Giving a few currency notes may not always require much from your side, but having to go the extra mile to ensure that the person is comfortable would be real compassion. I remember my father spending his well-earned money to buy a tin of polish and a shoe brush for some beggar on the street. He spent time telling the man that he could earn his own livelihood with the equipment that he had bought, but in a few days’ time, we saw the man again with the beggar’s bowl. Showing compassion may or may not work, but then, that is the best part of compassion- that you do your best, and you are not interested in the results or rewards. You don’t stop when the results are negative. You go on believing in the goodness of mankind and as the Bible says, “never tire of doing good.”


Gandhi the example of compassion in everyday life


Another wonderful man whom I admire greatly is Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi or Gandhiji as he is lovingly called. Born in a family of high standing, being one of the privileged few to be educated on foreign shores to be a lawyer, he gave it all up just to serve his countrymen. He had decided to teach his countrymen that no job was below his dignity and he did the unthinkable-he cleaned toilets. That was the job of the untouchables, and at that time, by doing that, he caused a major furore. He not only preached what he believed in, but he lived his life by the same principles.

Compassion is love in action - Are you ready for compassionate living?


Compassion is even greater than love, because it is the practice of love.

So you how do you bring compassion in your daily life?

Firstly, we’ve got to stop living like we are the only ones that matter on the planet and look around a bit. Our world’s greatest problem is not the lack of food, water or money - it is the lack of love, and compassion, which is love in action, is the only thing that can help our world be a better place.

Secondly, everyday, when we get up, we’ve got to decide to go out of our way, out of our usual schedules to do something to make another person’s day special. Once decided, it makes it so much easier to implement our desires, and really contributes to bringing the best out of us every day.

Finally, we have to watch our words. We may not realize it, but our words mean a lot to the people around us. We have to learn to use our words to build and encourage people, not pull them down or tear them apart. If you’re not sure on who to start practicing your compassion on, start with the people around you. They are often the hardest people to show compassion, but I guess they are the ones that need your support the most.

Compassion is also a vey self- rewarding experience. I’d like to close with the words of a song that I learned when I was a kid:

Love is something that you give away, give away, give away,

Love is something that you give away, and it comes right back to you.

It’s just like a magic penny, hold it tight and you won’t have any;

Lend it, spend it, give it away and it comes right back to you.”


I hope that you are inspired to go the extra mile to make someone else’s day !!


I would be glad to hear from you as always....

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    • profile image

      Website Examiner 6 years ago

      The word "altruism" also comes to mind; self-sacrifice for a greater purpose. I believe in compassion that is heart-felt; it has to come from within, not in an attempt to adhere to norms or standards. If I feel up to it, I could go the extra mile. I could turn my back on those that leave me feeling indifferent or whose plight I cannot emotionally relate to. Great topic and presentation!

    • sofs profile image
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      sofs 6 years ago

      Yes, altruism did come to mind but I felt it may be a notch higher than compassion itself. I agree with you, compassion is a heart felt desire to help others and not for hogging the limelight. I know you would go the extra mile, I have seen you in action and I admire that quality of yours. Thank you for the uplifting comment WE. I truly appreciate it!

    • timorous profile image

      timorous 6 years ago from Me to You

      Once again sofs, you've hit the nail on the head. We really must stop thinking of 'what's in it for me', and instead feel that rush of a real human connection. There's nothing quite like the smiles and sometimes tears of joy you get from giving in the most selfless way.

      This compassion seems to be a natural part of the Indian culture..of which you are a fine example. I can tell, these aren't just words from you. Bless you, my dear.

    • sofs profile image
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      sofs 6 years ago

      Oh Tim, I am humbled and lost for words. I am not even sure if I am worthy of all that you say. But with folded hand (the Indian way) I salute you! Thank you and God Bless!

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Beautiful hub. I cleaned my mom's house today (she's 90 years old and has trouble with the vaccuum cleaner). It wasn't very much for me to do, and you would think from her heartfelt gratitude that I did something big for her. I think it was just I felt some compassion for her situation--that's what she appreciated. People can sense that in a person--they can also sense its lack. Great hub!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      Indeed a beautiful hub and it leaves much food for thought.

      Thank you so much for sharing this hub.Take care

      Eiddwen.

    • profile image

      Website Examiner 6 years ago

      Sofs has asked me to convey to her readers that she is out of town. She will gladly respond to comments as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience and support, W.E.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Such a wonderful hub. I admire Mother Teresa so much, she spent her life helping the needy. Gandhi was a remarkable man. You've inspired me to do more. Thank you

    • sofs profile image
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      sofs 6 years ago

      Paradise, Sorry for the delay in response. Yes, people sense your compassionate nature, it is almost like a magnet that draws people to you. I was just wondering if even in following people here we may be, (in a not very conscious way) looking for people with such characteristics or values. I have noticed your kind nature and truly appreciate it. Thank you for the read and the comment.

    • sofs profile image
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      sofs 6 years ago

      Eiddwen, Thank you for stopping by to read. I am still learning to be compassionate in all situations and circumstances. It is a lesson worth learning :) and I hope to learn and be faithful to my learning to my last breath. Thank you for your kind words, I truly appreciate it. (((hugs)))

    • sofs profile image
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      sofs 6 years ago

      WE, thank you so much for your compassionate nature and willingness to help always :) I truly and honestly appreciate it :) God Bless! Cheers! :D

    • sofs profile image
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      sofs 6 years ago

      Dear Ruby, Mother Teresa and Gandhiji are indeed people who inspire you to look beyond yourself. There is something truly compelling and magnetic about these personalities - their compassion shines through. Thank you for wanting to do more..the world is in need of such people. The Mother would often say it is not the lack of food that troubles the world, it is more the lack of love :) Compassion is love in action.

    • carrie450 profile image

      carrie450 6 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

      What a beautiful hub sofs . We certainly all can learn from this. Voted Up!

    • sofs profile image
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      sofs 6 years ago

      Carrie, I am glad to see you. Don't we all learn from each other. I have learned much from you Carrie, I have seen how you focus on the positive all the time. Thank you dear for the read and the comment, it is highly appreciated, you are always in my prayers, God Bless!

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      sofs,

      This is a beautiful subject, well-expressed as usual.

      I am glad to be reading this on Mother's Day, as I learned so much compassion from Mom. And I agree that we can learn so much from each other.

      Voted UP, USEFUL, AWESOME & BEAUTIFUL!

    • sofs profile image
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      sofs 6 years ago

      Happy Mother's day to you Marcoujour :) I am glad that you have learned compassion from your mom and well it is a great tribute to her. I am still learning to be compassionate in all situations and with all people. A new lesson every day :) Thank you Marcoujour and hope you have a wonderful day today!

    • weseppers profile image

      weseppers 6 years ago

      Great hub, good thing.

    • sofs profile image
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      sofs 6 years ago

      Weseppers, welcome to my hub and thank you for the comment :)

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      I love this hub, Sofs. Thank you for sharing-voted it up, etc.

      In the realm of color, Compassion is green. It can show up in the 'field' of presence as the essence of compassion is evoked. It, like its action, has a warm quality about it.

      Well written and I love the photos.

    • sofs profile image
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      sofs 6 years ago

      Hi Denise, how beautifully you express compassion in the language of colors. This hub was a very personal thing for me. Thank you Denise, it does mean a lot to me to hear from you on the subject :)

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Reading this hub brought the essence of compassion within myself and reminded me that I could write about this and link it to your hub. Thanks for writing such a beautiful hub-but, your writing is always high quality.

    • sofs profile image
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      sofs 6 years ago

      That would be great Denise. We constantly need to be reminded to be compassionate and loving to our fellow human beings, the more we speak on the topic the more people we can reach :) Oh thank you so much for the compliment :) I honestly appreciate that :)

    • marymac47 profile image

      marymac47 5 years ago from Franklin. NC

      This is a beautiful Hub! Seeing others and wanting to help and reaching out with Love -- Compassion!! I see the compassion in you -- and I love the song. Give it away -- it will come back threefold!!

      Thank You******

    • sofs profile image
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      sofs 5 years ago

      Marymac, I appreciate that very much.. somehow you find more joy and peace in giving than in taking.. and yes...give love away and it comes right back to you..the wonderful people I have met on this life's journey,their love and compassion towards me has paid me back a hundred fold.. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment :) God Bless!

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