The Power of Compassion

The human experience is based on exchange and connectedness. We do need each other to experience and to share.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing, and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there." -- Rumi

One of the first things I do every morning is read the news. I believe that is the same for most people. We want to know what is happening in the world and in our communities. We want to know how yesterday's developments will be impacting our lives today. But as we read about all the wars, poverty and instability we feel overwhelmed and start to shut down. Unfortunately, the shutting down to the pain in the news carries on to our daily lives, and we start to become disconnected from our ability to feel compassion and to empathize. But the news is not the only reason. In addition, our own life's difficulties and struggles take care of whatever compassion we have left in our hearts.

The human experience is based on exchange and connectedness. We do need each other to experience and to share. How many times do we have a good experience and wonder how much better it would have been if shared with a loved one? How much better we feel about ourselves if we know we have friends and family watching our backs?

Having compassion, which is the ability to understand the emotional state of another person and then want to alleviate their suffering, makes us feel connected and part of a group. It gives us purpose and it grounds us. Without compassion we are bound to feel alone.

We live in a competitive world where success and disaster are what is most often highlighted. Somehow out of that we start to have the misconception that having compassion for others is either a waste of time or a sign of weakness. Or we see compassion as something only the rich and powerful have the time or the means to do. Compassion then becomes something for the ranks of Bono or George Clooney.

How wrong is that? Compassion is simple, profound and can thrive in every one of us. Compassion connects us to our own humanity and that of others. It can be expressed in a smile or a hug.

Compassion is letting someone else feel understood when they are conflicted. Compassion is loving someone when they are deeply distressed. It is putting your arms around someone else so they feel safe.

Every day we have an opportunity to change someone's life by paying attention to their needs. Every day someone else has the opportunity to change our lives for the same reason. Compassion does not have to be grandiose. It can be a simple act or gesture which carries the power to connect and transform.

Tap into your compassion for yourself and others. I assure you, it will transform you.

For more by Deborah Calla, click here.

For more on mindfulness, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.