compassion

Cryozombie

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This is an interesting topic. It's easy to say yes, I'm compassionate, but the more compassion you spread around, while seeing it taken for granted and none returned, giving all of yourself, but finding no help, support or sympathy when everything falls apart in your life, makes it easy to become jaded and feel like people as a whole don't deserve your compassion. So then you become very selective whom you will have compassion for, and slowly, I think withdraw and lose a bit of your humanity, until somthing like this becomes your motto:

I am the Heart of Darkness.
I know no fear, but rather I instill it in my enemies.
I am the destoyer of worlds.
I know the power of the Dark Side.
I am the fire of hate. All the Universe bows before me.
I pledge myself to the Darkness. For I have found true life, in the death of the light.
 

hkfuie

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This is an interesting topic. It's easy to say yes, I'm compassionate, but the more compassion you spread around, while seeing it taken for granted and none returned, giving all of yourself, but finding no help, support or sympathy when everything falls apart in your life, makes it easy to become jaded and feel like people as a whole don't deserve your compassion. So then you become very selective whom you will have compassion for, and slowly, I think withdraw and lose a bit of your humanity, until somthing like this becomes your motto:

But having a person in my life who never gave anything to me without strings attached, I learned for certain that nothing is any gift at all unless given without expectations of something in return.

When I give compassion, I give b/c of the environment it creates within me. On one level, this may be described as selfish. It is. But given without the idea that the person will give me something in return means I get my reward regardless of how the other person takes it. This means I don't have to suffer if the other person does not respond in the way I want. They can do with my gift what they want. It is a true gift.
 

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so this is a two-parter 1) does your personal belief system value compassion? & 2) how do you express this?

Jarrod,
Good topic, and thank you for posting!

My personal belief system does value compassion for all of life, not just human life. As others have stated far more eloquently than I could, it's often a subjective and situational reaction and practice. However, I think the first step toward practicing compassion is to give it to yourself as well as to others...even if only in small amounts.

As Sukerkin stated, so many people react out of fear, and that is based in low self esteem. It is so very hard to be compassionate, truly compassionate and not just fake niceness, to others if you cannot do the same to yourself. I see so many people that berate themselves for every little failing, real and imagined. And when a project, relationship, etc. goes wrong..thier first question is "what did I do wrong?".

So, small steps for those who find this self-compassion difficult. Start by asking "what went wrong" instead...and then take it as a chance to learn something instead of beat yourself up.

As for others, I almost always (human...don't forget) try to see the other person's viewpoint before I react. It's a work in progress for me, but I've learned a lot from attempting to see their p.o.v. I've noticed that if you make the attempt, some folks will loosen up and let you know the rest of the story...some...will only get angrier, because you're taking away thier ability to be self-righteous..ah well.

A bit rambly, but there's my current thoughts on the matter! :)
 

Cryozombie

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I learned for certain that nothing is any gift at all unless given without expectations of something in return.

Yes, but there is a difference in doing somthing with the intention fo accepting a reward, and doing somthing with no intention of collecting anything from it, but then becoming jaded by others and realizing how much of yourself you gave freely, and feeling like a schmuk for it because there is little left.

What was that cheezy 80's Song? "What about me? It isn't fair... I had enough now I want my share, but you just take more than you give"

(and you will forgive me if thats misquoted, cuz I ran that from memory)
 

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I'm not quite sure if this is True compassion or not. I often act to relieve anothers' suffering as seeing them in pain causes me to feel that pain. For me to do nothing is intolerable as the pain I am in will increase, to know that I can do something to relieve their distress and thus my own but made a choice not to is like commiting emotional suicide. I am fully aware that " there, but for the Grace of God, go I". I don't think you get handed a box of love or patience or trust or compassion at the beginning of life and when it's all gone, well too bad so sad. I think the world is filled with an infinite amount of love and patience and compassion. I'm sorry you don't see enough of it, but I promise it's there.
lori
 

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Yes, but there is a difference in doing somthing with the intention fo accepting a reward, and doing somthing with no intention of collecting anything from it, but then becoming jaded by others and realizing how much of yourself you gave freely, and feeling like a schmuk for it because there is little left.

What was that cheezy 80's Song? "What about me? It isn't fair... I had enough now I want my share, but you just take more than you give"

(and you will forgive me if thats misquoted, cuz I ran that from memory)

I understand what you're saying here. I think compassion is something you have, not something you give. Something you give, even to the undeserving, is forgiveness. Compassion is empathy. When you've had compassion for a person by taking other factors into account for their behavior, and find that others do not grant you the same understanding, you get jaded. You become a little less quick in your ability, or willingness, to sympathize.
 
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jarrod

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a couple of people have mentioned the selfish aspects of compassion. personally i don't see a conflict with this; i think it often leads to understanding that we are, ultimately, all in the same boat. in my experience, right actions more often than not benefit all parties involved. humanity would have crumbled long ago if helping others were not beneficial to ourselves as well.

jf
 

elder999

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I understand what you're saying here. I think compassion is something you have, not something you give. Something you give, even to the undeserving, is forgiveness. Compassion is empathy. When you've had compassion for a person by taking other factors into account for their behavior, and find that others do not grant you the same understanding, you get jaded. You become a little less quick in your ability, or willingness, to sympathize.


I'm going to start with the bolded portion, because this is a common misconception:

the Usually excellent Merriam Webster English Language Technical Manual said:
com繚pas繚sion sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it :together with a desire to alleviate it
em繚pa繚thy 1: the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it

2: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner ; also : the capacity for this

So what we have here are two very different things. THe best explanation I have of empathy (because not everyone feels it, and not all the time) is something that happened when I was a kid: a girl was on the balance beam in gymnastics, went up in the air, and came right down on her pubic bone. SHe was one of those real ruddy skinned redheads, and between the noise of her crotch hitting the beam, the blood draining from her face, and the way she just kind of melted off the balance beam, it was as though everyone there, in their own way, felt some part of her pain. Some people even crossed their legs and groaned......

On the other hand, to rush over, ask her if she's okay (yeah, right!), give first aid, tell her she's going to be okay, get her to the hospital (not necessary in this case), get her ice, a drink of water, a blanket,a pillow, a favorite stuffed animal, etc.: all of these are displays of compassion-one doesn't necessarily feel her pain, but one is aware of her distress, and tries to ease her pain.

Both are something that you have, but compassion, in that the desire to alleviate suffering is inherent to it, is also a capcity to give.One can "feel" it without acting, of course-a variety of wretched circumstances of history where people were unable to act come to mind-but the desire to act is still part of the feeling.

(And, to get personal for a moment, Pam, your equating "compassion" with "empathy" is telling in light of your posting earlier that you "sometimes have too much compassion," and that it's "just in your nature." What a kind person you must be!)


All of us (otherwise psychologically healthy human beings) possess a certain inherentcapacity for compassion, just as we do aggression, and in most of us, it's fairly balanced-you pretty much have to override one to exercise the other to excess-and there are a fair number of ways that we are trained to override our natural compassion in most societies-the military comes to mind, though this varies, and I have no personal experience. The only institutions that come to mind that actively train in developing and exercising compassion are religious institutions, and some medical training programs. Which brings another question to mind in light of the original post: if your personal belief system values compassion, how do you train it-in yourself, and more importantly, nurture it and train it in your students ? Or your children?

For myself, it begins with the practice of kindness, something I value more than anything else in human experience-though I often fail to be kind, deliberately or through omission. In any case, I don't really see a "selfish" aspect to compassion, though it may stem in some from the ego. I think questions of motive are complicated in instances like these: for years I lugged around a crash bag in my car as an EMT, and had more than a few instances in my everyday life to play "good Samaritan," until the professionals arrived-I never received or expected any recognition, in fact, I was just doing what I was obligated to do.

The good Samaritan is one of my favorite stories-it really sums up the whole of Jesus's teaching. You see a lot of "John 3:16," bandied about:"For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son," and some Christians will swear that it's the most important verse in the Bible. I say it's not- it's Luke 10:25-37:

One day an expert on Moses' laws came to test Jesus' orthodoxy by asking him this question: "Teacher, what does a man need to do to live forever in heaven?" Jesus replied, "What does Moses' law say about it?" It says that you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind. And you must love your neighbor just as much as you love yourself." Jesus told him. "Do this and you shall live!" The man wanted to justify (his lack of love for some kinds of people), so he asked, "Which neighbors?" Jesus replied with an illustration:

"A Jew going on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes and money, and beat him up and left him lying half dead beside the road. "By chance a Jewish priest came along; and when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Jewish Temple-assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but then went on. "But a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw him, he felt deep pity. Kneeling beside him the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his donkey and walked along beside him till they came to an inn, where he nursed him through the night. The next day he handed the innkeeper two twenty-dollar bills and told him to take care of the man. 'If his bill runs higher than that,' he said, 'I'll pay the difference the next time I am here.' "Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the bandits' victim?" The man replied, "The one who showed him some pity." Then Jesus said, "Yes, now go and do the same."

The Jews and Samaritans had been enemies for hundreds of years. The Jews of Jesus' society considered the Samaritans to be ceremonially unclean, socially outcast, religious heretics . Yet, the Samaritan took pity on the poor man who had been robbed and beaten. He gave freely of both his time and his money to help this Jewish man who was not only a stranger, but also an enemy from a foreign country. In his parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus challenges us to "Go and do the same."

Be kind.
 
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Jade Tigress

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I'm going to start with the bolded portion, because this is a common misconception:



So what we have here are two very different things. THe best explanation I have of empathy (because not everyone feels it, and not all the time) is something that happened when I was a kid: a girl was on the balance beam in gymnastics, went up in the air, and came right down on her pubic bone. SHe was one of those real ruddy skinned redheads, and between the noise of her crotch hitting the beam, the blood draining from her face, and the way she just kind of melted off the balance beam, it was as though everyone there, in their own way, felt some part of her pain. Some people even crossed their legs and groaned......

On the other hand, to rush over, ask her if she's okay (yeah, right!), give first aid, tell her she's going to be okay, get her to the hospital (not necessary in this case), get her ice, a drink of water, a blanket,a pillow, a favorite stuffed animal, etc.: all of these are displays of compassion-one doesn't necessarily feel her pain, but one is aware of her distress, and tries to ease her pain.

Both are something that you have, but compassion, in that the desire to alleviate suffering is inherent to it, is also a capcity to give.One can "feel" it without acting, of course-a variety of wretched circumstances of history where people were unable to act come to mind-but the desire to act is still part of the feeling.

(And, to get personal for a moment, Pam, your equating "compassion" with "empathy" is telling in light of your posting earlier that you "sometimes have too much compassion," and that it's "just in your nature." What a kind person you must be!)


All of us (otherwise psychologically healthy human beings) possess a certain inherentcapacity for compassion, just as we do aggression, and in most of us, it's fairly balanced-you pretty much have to override one to exercise the other to excess-and there are a fair number of ways that we are trained to override our natural compassion in most societies-the military comes to mind, though this varies, and I have no personal experience. The only institutions that come to mind that actively train in developing and exercising compassion are religious institutions, and some medical training programs. Which brings another question to mind in light of the original post: if your personal belief system values compassion, how do you train it-in yourself, and more importantly, nurture it and train it in your students ? Or your children?

For myself, it begins with the practice of kindness, something I value more than anything else in human experience-though I often fail to be kind, deliberately or through omission. In any case, I don't really see a "selfish" aspect to compassion, though it may stem in some from the ego. I think questions of motive are complicated in instances like these: for years I lugged around a crash bag in my car as an EMT, and had more than a few instances in my everyday life to play "good Samaritan," until the professionals arrived-I never received or expected any recognition, in fact, I was just doing what I was obligated to do.

The good Samaritan is one of my favorite stories-it really sums up the whole of Jesus's teaching. You see a lot of "John 3:16," bandied about:"For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son," and some Christians will swear that it's the most important verse in the Bible. I say it's not- it's Luke 10:25-37:

One day an expert on Moses' laws came to test Jesus' orthodoxy by asking him this question: "Teacher, what does a man need to do to live forever in heaven?" Jesus replied, "What does Moses' law say about it?" It says that you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind. And you must love your neighbor just as much as you love yourself." Jesus told him. "Do this and you shall live!" The man wanted to justify (his lack of love for some kinds of people), so he asked, "Which neighbors?" Jesus replied with an illustration:

"A Jew going on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes and money, and beat him up and left him lying half dead beside the road. "By chance a Jewish priest came along; and when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Jewish Temple-assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but then went on. "But a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw him, he felt deep pity. Kneeling beside him the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his donkey and walked along beside him till they came to an inn, where he nursed him through the night. The next day he handed the innkeeper two twenty-dollar bills and told him to take care of the man. 'If his bill runs higher than that,' he said, 'I'll pay the difference the next time I am here.' "Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the bandits' victim?" The man replied, "The one who showed him some pity." Then Jesus said, "Yes, now go and do the same."

The Jews and Samaritans had been enemies for hundreds of years. The Jews of Jesus' society considered the Samaritans to be ceremonially unclean, socially outcast, religious heretics . Yet, the Samaritan took pity on the poor man who had been robbed and beaten. He gave freely of both his time and his money to help this Jewish man who was not only a stranger, but also an enemy from a foreign country. In his parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus challenges us to "Go and do the same."

Be kind.


You are right. Beautiful distinction. :asian:

I equated compassion with empathy because I feel you must have empathy for a person to feel compassion for them. But compassion does go beyond feeling empathy. It should include an action. ie: helping the homeless, etc. because you feel empathy and have compassion for them.
 

Cryozombie

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Bah. What have the homeless ever done for me? <--- See? There I go again.
 
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jarrod

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Bah. What have the homeless ever done for me? <--- See? There I go again.

a guy i know was walking down the street when a homeless guy asked him for some change. he said "change comes from within" & kept walking. but then he's kind of a jerk.

jf
 

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]Bah. What have the homeless ever done for me?[/B] <--- See? There I go again.

"There, but for the grace of God, go I." I am fairly sure this is not the life he chooses to have nor does he choose to beg, it's survival. My pocket change is a very very small price to give him a bit of hope and preserve what dignity he has left.
lori
 

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"There, but for the grace of God, go I." I am fairly sure this is not the life he chooses to have nor does he choose to beg, it's survival. My pocket change is a very very small price to give him a bit of hope and preserve what dignity he has left.
lori
Actually it does a bit more than that... (having personally experienced long term homelessness)... it says "somebody cares".
This of course depends upon the manner of giving. If it's in the spirit of "get outta my face" then you might've well just said "no" and moved on.
Careful too on just walking up and handing out some change/cash and saying: "here ya go..." For that shows pity and a magnanimous ego which can be insulting to some... they just might not WANT your hand-outs or help. Take time out of your "busy schedule" and talk to them for a couple minutes (careful here as well) helps give the impression that there is someone who would listen. Also remember this... just like you... they're still human enough that they can hear the sincerity (or insincerity) in your voice when you say: "I wish I could do something more to help you out."

Either way... compassion is an action. Nobody ever was compassionate watching starving children on tv and shaking their heads saying "that's so sad" or seeing a homeless person getting turned down repeatedly when asking for handouts and not contributing themselves.

Almost all of the great religious "founders" (Christ, Mohammed, Buddha, et al) taught about compassion and caring for the poor, the sick, and less fortunate. In their own way the poor help us measure who and what we are by how we treat and care for them.

For me; yes, compassion is a part of my personal value system and I express it by however I can doing whatever I can.
Last monday I had appointment with my job coach. Arrived early and there was another man I'm acquainted with walking around huddled against himself to ward off the cold. Told him to get in my vehicle and warm up. He explained that he slept all night in his car, freezing and walked to where we were. He asked if I could give him a ride to pick up his paycheck and to a liquor store so he could buy himself some alcohol.
Normally I don't enable alcoholics (being one myself...recovering), but he was cold and in miserable straits. Having been there what else could I do?
Say no of course. It's a hard life ya know? Hard times for everyone.

How could I maintain the value of compassion if I don't live it.
 

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No Caver, the one Gentleman I see and talk to on a fairly regular basis I would never dismiss or pity. He is struggling through life the best way he knows how, just like me, just like you. What gets him through sometimes is the oblivion that the bottle brings; who am I to judge. When I give him what I can the money is his, for rent or food or whatever buys him a bit of peace.
lori
 

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No Caver, the one Gentleman I see and talk to on a fairly regular basis I would never dismiss or pity. He is struggling through life the best way he knows how, just like me, just like you. What gets him through sometimes is the oblivion that the bottle brings; who am I to judge. When I give him what I can the money is his, for rent or food or whatever buys him a bit of peace.
lori
Lori, ... (I say this gently) have you ever been IN the bottle? Day after day, night after night, week after week, month after month. Where food doesn't matter? Where just trying to STAY in that oblivion on a permanent basis is a long frustrating battle, because each time you wake up you're sober and reality tries to intrude back in and you've no money to buy more because you drank it all because you've found out that no matter how much you drank... it's not enough?
I've been there.
But you're talking one gentleman and my heart goes out to his struggle.
I've lived among dozens and known hundreds out of the thousands in this country. I'm still no judge but my own sense of compassion (for them) is in direct proportion to how much they want to stop destroying themselves.
-------------
 

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Found this in a book I was reading and thought about this thread.

"We must know the pain of loss; because if we never knew it, we would have no compassion for others, and we would become monsters of self-regard, creatures of unalloyed self-interest. The terrible pain of loss teaches humility to our prideful kind, has the power to soften uncaring hearts, to make a better person of a good one."
~Dean Koontz "The Darkest Night Of The Year"

I like it. Probably going to make it part of my signature.
 

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Heartening reading through the past few posts here.

Not only does it give me evidence of the hope I hold that there are still more decent people than otherwise in the world but it gave me a Koontz quote that gives me pause for thought on the cause of the rising selfishness of the generations that have followed on behind us.
 

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one virtue i've been trying to cultivate lately is compassion. i see a lot of people claim to value compassion, or who belong to religions that value compassion, but it is hard to see how they demonstrate it in their daily lives.

so this is a two-parter 1) does your personal belief system value compassion? & 2) how do you express this?

all answers welcome whether or not they are martial arts related.

jf


I once had a female boss at my last workplace who targeted me with absolute aggression. The reason why was misplaced on her part, but unfortunately I wasn't able to counter those reasons as they were never the subject of discussion. I copped her aggression for two years straight - aggressive emails, threats, hateful looks, potential destruction of my career and so on, and I fought this onslaught with all that I had, until eventually senior management, who'd had enough of me fighting back, ordered me to shut the hell up or leave.

A few weeks later, this same woman, called me in absolute desperation from a seminar, crying her eyes out because she needed my help with a work issue. You might be thinking, what work issue could invoke such desperation, but trust me, career wise, the consequences for her would have been devastating without my help.

Did I help? Yes, completely, and with sincere compassion. I saved her career, basically, and averted a major problem.

This scenario in my life always reminds me of the two guys fighting at the top of a cliff. When the bad guy is hanging on to the edge with one hand and screaming out for your help (after you've flipped him
icon12.gif
) do you haul him back over, or let him fall to his death? I guess it all depends on what he's done to become a bad guy to begin with.

I still sometimes wonder if I should have let this woman fall. But for some reason I still keep coming back to the same conclusion, being that helping was the right thing to do. The universe offerred me justified revenge. I declined that offer, and felt good about it afterwards. I still do.

JD
 

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Lori, ... (I say this gently) have you ever been IN the bottle? Day after day, night after night, week after week, month after month. Where food doesn't matter? Where just trying to STAY in that oblivion on a permanent basis is a long frustrating battle, because each time you wake up you're sober and reality tries to intrude back in and you've no money to buy more because you drank it all because you've found out that no matter how much you drank... it's not enough?
I've been there.
But you're talking one gentleman and my heart goes out to his struggle.
I've lived among dozens and known hundreds out of the thousands in this country. I'm still no judge but my own sense of compassion (for them) is in direct proportion to how much they want to stop destroying themselves.
-------------

Well that depends on whats in the bottle doesn't it? There are lots of way to find oblivion and ...........sometimes it finds you. And you don't want to come back, better to stay in oblivion, nothingness. It's quiet, peaceful, there is no pain, no one can touch you,hurt you. I understand the need for oblivion.
lori
 
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