The compassionate definition is the feeling or showing of sympathy and concern for others and is arguably one of the most important qualities a person can have. Other qualities a compassionate person is associated with are sympathetic, empathetic, and understanding. In spite of its general definition, experts have developed varying perspectives on what the definition of compassionate is.
Definition of Compassionate: Theories and Importance of Compassion
1. Compassion Means Feeling Pity
Compassionate is the adjective of the English word “compassion,” which was influenced by the archaic French word “compassioné,” meaning “feeling pity.”
Major religious and spiritual views consider compassion as a great virtue. These religions include Hinduism, Jainism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. The Dalai Lama, on the other hand, has said that love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.
2. In Psychology, the Definition of Compassionate is the Urge to Ease Suffering
Compassion has been a subject of research in positive and social psychologies. According to studies, it means the ability to identify with other people and the consequent urge to ease their suffering. Research, however, has also discovered three requirements for people to feel compassion toward others. These are the seriousness of the matter, the matter is not self-inflicted, and the matter allows people to sympathize without blame or shame.
3. In Neuropsychology, the Definition of Compassionate is the Inducement of Positive Feelings in People
Experiments have shown that being compassionate towards others has effects on the prefrontal and inferior frontal cortices and the midbrain. Compassion likewise has effects on the regions of the brain associated with pleasure and reward. Overall, these experiments show how this quality induces positive feelings in people.
4. In Medicine, the Definition of Compassionate is a Social Emotion
Compassion is a common attribute among medical practitioners as it brings about the desire to help those who are suffering. While this desire is not compassion, they are closely related and drive these practitioners to commit to their duties and put the interests of their patients first. In turn, this doctor-patient relationship is evidence on how compassion as a quality is, in fact, a social emotion related to the closeness between and among people.
5. Are Compassionate People More Prone to Fatigue?
There are varying theories regarding the effects of compassion on people. Some experts suggest people with a higher capacity for compassion toward others are more likely to suffer from fatigue or stress. Other experts, however, suggest that it is the lack of tolerance that causes these symptoms. And the best way to prevent fatigue or stress is to practice compassion without judgment.
6. Self-Compassion is Being Kind to Yourself
Compassion is not just a feeling toward others but also a feeling toward yourself. That is, self-compassion is a process in which you learn to be more kind to yourself and accept that suffering is a natural occurrence in life. Experts believe that this quality has positive effects on happiness, optimism, wisdom, among others.
7. Other Benefits of Compassion
Fabulous story. Helping the trolls.
Sarah Silverman’s response to a Twitter troll is a master class in compassion https://t.co/PxVHsqJKSA
— Peter FitzSimons (@Peter_Fitz) January 7, 2018
Aside from the benefits implied in the previous items, compassion also has other effects on people. These include enlarging one’s perspective and identity. It allows you to discover common grounds with others which, in turn, enables you to connect with them. Compassion likewise improves your health, lowering suffering and stress.
The School of Life share a short clip on how to have self-compassion:
Being compassionate indeed has many benefits, not just to yourself but to those around you. While it is not an overnight process, you can always start by removing your inhibitions and opening your mind and heart to the world.
Can you think of any other possible benefit of compassion? Let us know in the comments section below.