“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama
You probably know several compassionate people. How come they act in such a loving, caring way towards others? What is their secret and can we get inside the mindset of a compassionate person? Here are 13 things they do without even thinking about it.
1. They do not think that money is so important
Studies show that the more money people make, the less compassionate and generous they become. They will always think twice about giving small change to a beggar. A compassionate person will do this spontaneously. It is interesting to note that the word ’get’ has always been used more in the written language than the word ‘give’ in America since 1800.
2. They expect nothing in return
“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” – Samuel Johnson
True acts of compassion mean that they will give a member of their family $50 without expecting any favors in return. Most people would immediately start thinking about how this could be repaid, even in kind. The great thing about showing compassion is that there is a sort of hidden bonus. Compassionate people experience a release of the hormone oxytocin when they do an act of kindness. They are usually rewarded with healthier and happier lives and it often costs nothing at all!
3. They are great listeners
They are prepared to listen and hear out a person even though they may not have a ready solution. The real compassion is allowing a person to vent their feelings, rage and frustration. Having a sympathetic ear is very important for them and helps to alleviate their suffering, rather than keeping it all bottled up inside. Being compassionate also means giving the person their full attention instead of waiting for a pause when they can jump in and air their own views. This is one of the challenges of being an active listener.
4. They are prepared to give negative feedback
Showing empathy and compassion also means being able to tell a person that they need to try harder or make a greater effort at work. Not an easy thing to do. The compassionate person can do this by asking questions which will help the person to discover what went wrong. A typical one would be, “What went wrong with the plan?” or “What were the difficulties you had not envisaged?” It is always a good idea to start with positive feedback which should outnumber the criticism by about 5 to 1.
5. They are able to find commonality with others
Experiments have actually shown that when people feel that they have more in common with each other, they become more compassionate. It could be thinking that the person you meet is seeking happiness and has known sadness, just like you. It could be more banal such as liking the same local restaurant, following the same football team or tapping to music with the same rhythm. Commonality increases compassion that people may feel for each other and helps them to reach out to help. David DeSteno of Northeastern University has conducted some interesting research on this.Advertising
6. They want to share their knowledge
They never keep their knowledge, experience and wisdom to themselves. They are prepared to teach others to learn from their expertise. That can empower people to do better, go further and develop, whether in the workplace or in the home. Truly sharing without expecting anything in return is a marvelous quality.
7. They are emotionally intelligent
When you have a high emotional intelligence quotient (EQ), you are able to picture and almost feel what another person is suffering or lacking. This is what we call emotional intelligence and is a key factor in almost every type of human relationship. Compassionate people have a high EQ because they are mainly more self-aware of their actions and can also empathize much more effectively. If you have a high EQ, you are able to navigate life much more successfully.
8. They notice people in need
In Daniel Goleman’s TED talk, he tells the story of how most people are so self absorbed that they live in an urban trance and fail to notice or act when people are in need. He was in the subway and noticed a man slumped on the steps. There were hundreds of people stepping over him. It was only when Goleman acted and offered to help the man, that many other people stopped too and offered food and help to this person who had fainted because of starvation. Compassionate people, like Goleman, will always be the first to act and lead the way.
9. They practice self-compassion first
Compassionate people are experts in accepting their own pain, suffering and loss. They are never too hard on themselves and hope that by accepting their own shortcomings and failures, they can be more serene. This is an essential element in self awareness too. Compassionate people learn to be more caring towards others when they practice it on themselves first. This is another great advantage of being compassionate.Advertising
10. They are hard wired to do good
There has been lots of debate about whether compassion is just a rather pedestrian emotion for the do gooders on this planet or whether it is innate. Fortunately, most research now supports the latter view. The philosopher Kant was not convinced though.
“Such benevolence is called soft-heartedness and should not occur at all among human beings.” – Emanuel Kant
It is well known that there are biological and physiological changes in the body systems when we actually do good or treat people kindly. Compassionate people are perfect examples of this and illustrate that they are the models to follow.
11. They know how to use touch
Research seems to now suggest that the use of touch can convey compassion when verbal cues are impossible. The warmth of touch to encourage, soothe and comfort a sick or grieving person are extremely important. It is also an evolved part of our human nature. Compassionate people use touch intelligently and they know that ‘touchy feely’ can be extremely effective and therapeutic.Advertising
12. They are even compassionate towards those who mistreat them
The truly compassionate person knows instinctively that when he or she is treated badly, they need to withdraw. Anger and other negative emotions are useless. This is extremely difficult to practice. They start to think instead of what the person was going through, what they were suffering and what mood they were in. Once they understand this, they can think of the times that they themselves mistreated somebody and reflect on how important it is not to react with anger but, rather, with compassion and kindness.
13. They will change the world
Now that we know that compassion is truly just another aspect of being human, let’s try and go out and make the world a much better place. Compassionate people will lead the way by making the workplaces, schools, hospitals and public offices more caring and compassionate places. Let’s get out there and just do it!
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai Lama
Featured photo credit: Young attractive girl with her pet dog via shutterstock.comAdvertising
Last Updated on July 3, 2020
30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life
In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:
1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to
Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.
2. Focus on your breath
Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.
3. Get organized and purge old items
A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.
4. Stop yourself from being judgmental
Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.
5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often
Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.
6. Smile more
Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!
7. Don’t worry about the future
As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.
8. Eat real food
The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.
9. Choose being happy over being right
Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.
10. Keep technology out of the bedroom
Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.
11. Make use of filtering features on social media
You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.
12. Get comfortable with silence
When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.
13. Listen to understand, not to respond
So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.
14. Put your troubles in a bubble
Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.
15. Speak more slowly
Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.
16. Don’t procrastinate
Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.
17. Buy a coloring book
Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.
18. Prioritize yourself
You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.
19. Forgive others
Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.
20. Check your expectations
Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”
21. Engage in active play
Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!
22. Stop criticizing yourself
The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.
23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want
Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.
24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.
Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.
25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of
Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.
26. Manage your money
Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.
27. Stop trying to control everything
Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.
28. Practice affirmations
Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.
29. Get up before sunrise
Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.
30. Be yourself
Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.
Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com