To have true compassion for another is to have a deep awareness and caring about the suffering of another. It is considered one of the greatest of all virtues. How do you develop this virtue? Certainly if you’ve experienced deep suffering yourself, you have a greater understanding of what it means to suffer. Compassion, however, goes far beyond just understanding. It also involves a real capacity to care. Here is what I’ve learned about it. Like every other significant virtue, compassion is best achieved when it begins with you. When you sincerely embrace compassion for your own suffering, you become ready to genuinely embrace the suffering of another. How do you practice this? It’s not about throwing a pity party for yourself or feeling sorry for you. It’s about having the courage to sit deeply in your own suffering and getting to know it intimately – to look at it, to feel it and ultimately to be caring about it. Can you do that for you? Can you do that for others?
- Having compassion or empathy for the suffering of others is considered one of the greatest of all virtues. One of the best ways to master compassion for others, is first to master compassion with yourself.