Week #34 – Start with Your Heart (Nine ways to be “Truly Compassionate”)

"All Heart" (Photo credit: Grace Church)

“Start with your Heart” (Photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #35: Start with Your Heart (Nine Ways to be “Truly Compassionate”)

The words “Truly Compassionate” appear in thick, black Sharpie ink on Rob’s word board.

The word “compassion” literally means “to suffer together.”  And that’s a tall order — because we all want to be helpful, right?  But we don’t want to get hurt or dirtied up in the process.

Dictionary.com defines compassion as “feeling deep sympathy or sorrow for another…with a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.”  (And wow…that is one fully loaded ellipsis if I ever saw one!)

One thing I notice though…the definition says “desire to alleviate the suffering”.  This eliminates two paths we male and female humans most often take:

1. Commiserating:  Literally, this means “being miserable together.”  Sometimes misery does love company…and a cold beer…or some ice cream…and a good movie. But let’s just be honest and call it what it is!  This might get our MINDS off the suffering…but it does nothing to fix the problem.

(Which leads me to…)

2. Fix it for them:  The definition says “desire” to alleviate…not “take action” to alleviate (or “take responsibility, either!).  Compassion requires that we feel first…and I think that’s important because our nature is to want to get our HANDS into it and fix things.  (And most of us know this can be maddening when we haven’t quite had the chance to feel and sort out our own feelings first, anyway.)

One of the ways, I believe, Rob was “truly compassionate” was he lead with his HEART.  What about you?

Your assignment for this week: Compassion may seem complicated — but here are nine synonyms that offer specific ways to cultivate compassion in your own life.  Pick one as a theme for the week or try different strategies on for size.  Either way — start with your heart!

  1. Benevolence: simply…the desire to do good toward others (wish someone well, even if it’s only in your heart)
  2. Empathy: identify or understand the feelings of another (help someone name a difficult feeling)
  3. Grace: forgiveness (remember…it doesn’t mean forget, it just means release expectations)
  4. Humanity: instead of just “people-watching”…take a step back and watch human hearts at work/play instead
  5. Kindness: literally…treat others like your own
  6. Mercy: goodwill or forgiveness towards an enemy or offender
  7. Sorrow: share distress, grief, or sadness with another
  8. Sympathy: share feelings at all (happy ones too!)
  9. Tenderness: soften your heart in a difficult situation

Spread Happyness — and Start with your Heart this week!  (And remember to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!)

PS: Happy Mother’s Day!!!

5/8/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

2 thoughts on “Week #34 – Start with Your Heart (Nine ways to be “Truly Compassionate”)

  1. Gina

    I think I identify with benevolence. I always want to help, even if from a seated position. 😉 But seriously, this benefits me just as much as the person on the receiving end. Maybe I’ll try a little humanity on for size, and learn a few things along the way.

    1. Grace Church Post author

      Hi Gina! Thanks for checking in and taking time to comment! Benevolence is definitely you…”Helping!” (Even if it is from a seated position!) 😉 Humanity is a great one! I read a blog recently where the woman did a walking meditation, observing everyone who crossed her path as if they were her child. It helped her see past the surface and into the hearts of those around her…and because she was doing it privately in her own mind (because these were strangers), it eliminated the instinct to interfere. She just took the time to see them with her heart. Very powerful. Happy STOMPING today!!!


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