How to Cultivate Compassion

Whether or not we choose to acknowledge it, we are each on our own journey through life in the pursuit of happiness be it whatever form that may choose to manifest itself; either for ourselves or for others. Human nature is to feel good when expressing love and care for other humans, and to feel even better when those same feelings are reciprocated back to us. Humans have a natural capacity to provide and express compassion. However, day-to-day factors such as stress, social pressures, and life experiences/filters can suppress this capacity.

Practicing compassion not only helps to lower your cortisol levels (see post here on the negative impacts of cortisol), but will also serve to help you attract happier people into your life. When you are happy, the people around you are happy and so, cultivating a sense of compassion can serve as a highly effective tool in achieving the happiness you seek. By incorporating just three simple changes into your everyday life, you can begin to cultivate compassion in your life effortlessly.

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Give Back

Too often does it occur that we conceive a way in which we would love to help someone, but fail to act upon this idea. I encourage you each and every day to act on your impulse to express your kindness; no matter how big or small. Practice doing something small each day to help end the suffering of others, even in a tiny way. It can be something as simple as a smile, a kind word, doing an errand or chore, or just talking about a problem with another person.

When you live to serve others in a way that affords them strength, guidance, or direction in their life with no expectation of a return, you will soon come to realize that the gift of having that ability to provide in the first place was really your greatest asset all along. I promise it will feel good.

Seek Commonalities

Another common barrier preventing our innate ability to practice compassion is judgement. It is important that while every individual’s journey through life is different, we all experience a life that is hard and are making the best effort to do what we can with the tools we have. So, relax your judgements.

At the end of the day, we are all human – we all need food, water, shelter, and love. We crave attention (whether we admit it or not) and seek recognition when we do something… anything… big or small. Reflect more on these commonalities and less on what sets you apart; In recognizing we are each one in the same, compassion will naturally flow for the needs with which you can connect.

Mindful and Get Your Emotions in Check

Lastly, understand that you cannot properly help someone if you aren’t in a good place to start. Just as in the theory that an abused child turns into an abuser, inner turmoil can in turn inflict outer turmoil unintentionally when trying to express compassion from an unstable place. In order to serve others, you need to first work through your own emotions and difficulties to be able to connect with good intentions. When you do the work to heal your psyche and connect with yourself, compassion becomes a natural by-product

At the end of each day think about the people you met and talked to, and how you treated each other. Think about your goal to act with compassion towards others. Reflecting on your actions will allow you to move your best foot forward tomorrow, the next day, and so on

  1. How well did you do?
  2. What could you do better?
  3. What did you learn from your experiences today?

When you start to utilize these tools to practice compassion more and more in your day to day life, I can promise you that you will begin to see and feel a positive difference emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

No one has ever felt bad for improving someone else’s life.

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