Wouldn’t most of us like to think ourselves as being kind and compassionate? Sure, most of us would. But, with all the distractions in the world today, it’s easy to become a little distracted when it comes to compassion. In the hubbub of daily life, it’s easy to lose sight of other people and their needs every now and then…… even when someone in need is standing right in front of us.
Being more compassionate isn’t always easy. It can take some thought, effort, and dedication. But, it’s worth it. Showing compassion is rewarding. Not only does an act of compassion make the person on the receiving end feel better, it makes the giver feel pretty good as well. Showing compassion to other people can make us happier with ourselves and with our own lives.
It doesn’t matter who we may be… what situation we are in… or how old we are… it’s possible to become more compassionate in our daily lives. Of course, we may need a little practice, but we can all get there. Here are a few helpful tips for living more compassionately.
Suggestions for Practicing Compassion Every Day
- Be kind to people. It sounds simple enough, but showing compassion to all the different people who pass through our lives on any given day can be a significant challenge. One of the great things about being compassionate is that even the smallest act of kindness can make a big difference in someone’s life. We may never know what the full effect of one act of compassion will be, but it could be monumental. It could change the trajectory of someone’s entire day. Probably the best thing about being compassionate is that it is contagious. If you are kind and compassionate to someone, the odds are pretty high that they will be passing that kindness along to other folks.
- Be compassionate with yourself. As hard as people can be on others, most of us are even harder on ourselves. Nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes and has regrets. Give yourself a break if you don’t live up to your own expectations or those other people may put upon you. It’s okay… even when it comes to being a compassionate, person. As long as you have well-meaning intentions, you’re on the right path.
- Really listen to people. It’s so easy to fall into the habit of thinking about what to say next while someone else is talking. But people need us to hear them far more than they need to hear our opinions. When talking with people, it’s best to relax your mind and simply give them your undivided attention. When we really listen, it invites people to open up to us and trust us.
- Really care. You don’t have to agree with someone. You don’t have to like what the person is saying. But it’s important to care about the person, their feelings, and their needs. Think about how great it feels to have someone truly care about you. Open up your heart… and truly care.
- Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. It’s easier to feel compassion for someone if you can relate to their perspective. Sometimes, it can be difficult to put yourself in someone else’s position especially if their situation is foreign to you. However, there are plenty of things we share as human beings and can to relate to in one another. Try asking yourself what it would be like to be the other person. How would you feel? What would you do? What would you need? What would help you? Then try to respond to the person with a sense of empathy.
- Think about what you say. Words can easily pop out without much thought, but words are powerful and carry a lot of weight. Words can empower and boost people up or they can tear people down. Words can be understanding and tolerant or they can be critical and judgmental. Most importantly, words can have consequences and lasting effects.
- Think about what you do. Nonverbal messages can mean and say a lot. Without saying a word, we can show compassion and understanding through our facial expressions and even how we hold our bodies. Maintaining eye contact with people, keeping the body turned toward them, and leaning in as they speak shows you’re listening and that you care about what they are saying. A smile or a pat on the hand can be reassuring and can show compassion.