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5 Ways to Lead a Compassionate Life

Practicing compassion, takes time, but forms the cornerstone for a more vibrant, purposeful life...

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” – Maya Angelou

Compassion, is a powerful human emotion, and is easy to implement in our daily lives. The trick is to be grateful for what we have, approach others with kindness and to extend your shoulder or a helping hand, whenever possible.

However, in today’s world, compassion is slowly becoming a thing of the past.

Compassion

It is important to note that compassion is not just about giving; it is also about the joy you receive when you give.

Inculcating a compassionate view in life is known to have tremendous benefits for both physical and mental health. Connecting with another through an act of kindness leads to greater psychological well being than living closed lives focused solely on ourselves.

As per an article published by The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, “A compassionate lifestyle improves longevity, which may be because it provides a buffer against stress. A recent study conducted on a large population (more than 800 people) and led by the University at Buffalo’s Michael Poulin found that stress was linked to a higher chance of dying—but not among those who helped others.”

Let us revive this mutually beneficial emotion that can help each of us lead longer, fuller lives. Here’s how:

1.    Self-love
We are always told it is imperative to love ourselves before we love another… And rightly so. If we are constantly finding flaws in ourselves, how will we encourage others to accept themselves for who they are? If we can’t enjoy being by ourselves, how will another find comfort in our company? Self-love is where compassion begins.

2.    Explore
It is easy to lead lives knowing only as much as is required, learning about only what concerns us. Easy it is, but it’s also unfulfilling. Expanding our worldview, absorbing what we see, hear, stumble upon, pushing ourselves to learn what others lives are made of – that gives us the capability to walk in other people’s shoes and hence, display compassion.

3.    Empathize
We all are different. Choose not to pay heed to what separates us. Rather, focus on what unites us. Each one of us wishes to avoid loneliness, despair, and pain. All of us crave love, recognition, and validation. Remember that we’re all in the same boat and could use each other to sail through this journey we call ‘life’.

4.    Random acts of kindness
Remember the time a stranger offered you water when you were welling up? Or when a kind soul gave up their seat in the metro because they noticed you were carrying too many bags? Of course, you remember. An act of kindness is seldom forgotten. After all, it does not just save the day; sometimes, it even saves lives.

5.    Listen
It’s easy to drop a text telling a friend, ”I’m here if you need to talk.” This time really mean it. Show up for them. Drop in to their house. Be there. As hard as it may seem, hear people out- without judgment, without the urgency to respond, with patience. Lend someone your ear and let them pour their heart out.

In the end, it’s not about who deserves your compassion. It boils down to whether or not you have it in your heart to offer it to one and all. Whether its offering someone a ride home, showing compassion to an animal in need or guiding the elderly with crossing the street- all of these small acts display compassion.

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