Compassion is the ability to feel concern when we encounter pain and suffering, our own as well as that of others. It is accompanied by the wish to alleviate this pain and suffering, and the willingness to take responsibility for how we deal with it.
Whereas pity is accompanied by fear and sentimentality, compassion requires courage and generosity. Compassion does not exclude anyone, especially not the person we have to deal with most in our lives… ourselves. There are good reasons to even begin the practice of compassion with ourselves. If we would skip ourselves all the time, it would be difficult to sense what others need.
Practising self-compassion is therefore not selfish. Precisely because we develop a healthier relationship with ourselves, the way opens towards more empathy and compassion for others. When we truly meet our pain we develop a sensitivity that will benefit ourselves and others. We learn to respond wisely and compassionately to suffering whoever is the sufferer. Compassionate living is based on this realization of our common humanity and interconnectedness with all beings.
The rainbow of compassion arises when the sunrays of kindness
touch upon the tears of suffering.