Within the word compassion is the word compass. There is also the word passion. When I think of the word compass, I think of a device with a magnetic needle that helps me determine my sense of direction. When I explored the meaning of the word in the dictionary, I also found that compass means to comprehend, to travel entirely around, or to get into one’s possession or power. This discovery was like a revelation for me because when I read those words “direction” and tapping into “one’s power,” it was like dancing at the Greek party on a Friday night to my favorite “house music!” Yes, indeed, those words meant a lot me.
I then looked for the definition of passion. I found the following: obsession, excitement, anger, sexual desire, emotion, intense feeling and love. These words described feelings from one end of the spectrum to the other. And as those words sunk in, I thought about some examples in my life where I felt like I was demonstrating compassion because I felt an “intense powerful feeling” that I decided to name as “loving.” Upon deeper understanding, however, I told myself the truth and it was not only compassion that I was feeling, it was many times sympathy.
Let’s take a look at the differences between compassion and sympathy. Compassion empowers, supports, comforts, and fosters growth. Sympathy, on the other hand, provides a cushion, it smothers, it keeps us in the role of victim tempting us to escape from reality, and it feels good in the moment but in the long run, it does not help our personal growth. This new understanding has been a “wake up” call for me! And I hope that this information helps you much earlier in life than it did for me – during your college years.
Compassion fosters internal growth and wisdom. As I often tell my clients and workshop participants, here is a “lifework” assignment for you if you choose to take it on: commit to being compassionate in your relationships. Be more supportive and empower others with positive, constructive feedback and actions – even when you want to write them off! Know that each of us is unique and we are influenced by cultural traditions, family ancestry, our environment and personal experiences along the way. When we have compassion for others, we are letting them know that we are allowing some space in the relationship for the expression of difference and could not possibly know all of the details that make them a unique, one-of-a-kind human being – because we are not them! No two people are exactly the same.
Consider compassion a lifelong “work in progress.” Consider it as one more stepping stone along the path of a Growth in Motion™ lifestyle. It supports, comforts, empowers, and fosters personal growth. Remember to slow down and take time to work on empowering your relationships with compassion.
Growth in Motion™!! = Self Care + Self Empowerment + Self Knowledge + Self Direction
Take Care of Yourself,
“Living a Growth in Motion™!! Lifestyle”