Many times when we hear of compassion, some of the first meanings we think of are empathy and kindness. And while empathy and kindness are certainly aspects of compassion, there is more to this core value which is inherent to our humanity.
According to a Compassion Cultivation Training Program I participated in at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research in Education (CCARE) at Stanford University (2015), here are some important pointers on compassion:
Essentially, "compassion is to recognize and strive to alleviate one's own as well as other's suffering".
It involves having the "intention, awareness, focus, stability, and capacity to experience and show more compassion".
"Compassion is a natural capacity that is not always easy to express, and not to everyone. And We have the capacity to develop and broaden compassion."
It is a trait highly regarded in many faiths including Islam, Christianity and Judaism, as well as in spiritual traditions such as Buddhism, and in personal beliefs. Moreover, we now have scientific research which reveals that compassion was a necessary and natural part of our evolution in order for us to protect, connect, and collaborate with one another (Goetz, Keltner, Simon-Thomas, 2010).
In my coming posts, I will be speaking more about the steps involved with fostering more self-compassion as well as compassion with others.