Have you ever met people who are sincerely concerned for your well-being and are there for you when you need them? People like this are compassionate, empathetic and loving. For some, this comes naturally, for others, it takes work.

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It’s important to be compassionate and empathetic because you never know what others are going through. When people are troubled, they sometimes show it on their face. Others put on a brave smile and seem happy. The point is that you don’t always know other people’s personal struggles, so it’s a good idea to always practice compassion and empathy. Here are a few ways for showing compassion.

Practice Compassionate Listening

It’s easy to become consumed with technology. We check our social media accounts, texts and email accounts constantly. Resist the urge to do that when talking or having dinners with friends. Instead, hear what they say. More than just hearing, listen to what they say. Look them in the eye, actively listen to what they are saying and offer advice if you think it’s appropriate.
Advice is not always needed. Many times people just want to be heard. They are not seeking someone to solve their problems, they just want to get it off their chest.

Learn to be Empathetic

Empathy is not the same as compassion. You can be compassionate to someone but not be able to fully understand what they are going through.

em.pa.thy — the ability to understand and share the feelings of another

To become truly empathetic, you must put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Think about what it would be like to face the same struggle your friend is telling you about. Consider exactly what you would do if it were you. Once you get to that level of understanding, you have become empathetic.

Love Unconditionally

I’m sure you have unconditional love for someone. It may be your spouse, children or siblings. When you have it, you know it. It does not matter what that person does, it does not impact what you think of them or how you treat them — you love them unconditionally. Practice this same approach to people outside of your immediate circle and you may be surprised how uplifting it can be.

With the hurried life we all live, it’s a great feeling to make personal connections with others and be compassionate and empathetic to their needs. What strategies have you used to become more compassionate and empathetic?

Here is some steps you can take in becoming more compassionate.

1. Self-Compassion Practice Comes First
Care and love towards others has its origins in care and love for oneself. You can only give to others what you have already cultivated within yourself. If you aren’t loving with-yourself, you will certainly criticize and expect the worst in others. Learning to have more compassion requires us to make the radical shift to assume the best in ourselves and others. Develop self-compassion by asking yourself this when you feel pain “This is a difficult for me right now, how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?” Recognize all of us suffer, make mistakes and are imperfect, it’s part of the shared human experience. Who said the goal was for us to be perfect anyway?

2. Be Aware of the Suffering of Others
To be compassionate toward others, we need to notice the suffering around us. If we overlook our friends pain, ignore the homeless person on the street or think someone else will help those affected by atrocities around the world, we can’t feel compassionate for others. To be aware, we have to practice being present and opening our eyes and hearts to connect to people around us. Once we care for others` suffering, rather than mere pity, we will shift towards being more compassionate.

3. Feel the pain; but don’t get consumed
When we see someone in distress and our heart responds by feeling moved to lessen their pain, that is the essence of feeling another’ s pain. This comes from a place of empathy and desire to help without expectation. This differs from listening to someone vent about their challenges and absorbing their negativity. When you get sucked into their drama and feel their anger, you deplete your own energy and are of no benefit or positivity to the person you seek to help.

4. Build Genuine Human Connections
We lead private lives, choose what we share with others and numb our emotions to avoid feeling discomfort. No wonder we have no feelings of empathy towards strangers or people in our life. Building genuine connections requires us to find the common thread between all of us: pain. Our painful life experiences are different, but the underlying pain we feel is the same. By being vulnerable and sharing our story with those who deserve to hear it, we feel connected to others. Feeling the pain of others requires us to recognize that our similarities far outweigh our differences.

5. Accept Others` Life Experiences
We aren’t here to fight the battles of others, change their life situation or lecture them about how they should live their life. Sometimes people share their story to be heard, not for our advice. In some situations the best thing to say is “ I may not understand exactly how you feel, but I want you to know you don’t have to go through this alone.” We have to recognize that people are exactly where they need to be in this moment. We are here to bring relief to their situation and respect each of our individual journeys.

6. Be Kind to All
Having compassion means you offer kindness regardless of others` attitudes or mistakes. The best way to practice this is by the loving kindness meditation. As you go about your day, silently bless the people you meet in your mind. “I send you love, happiness and peace in all areas of your life.” Kindness isn’t made up of grand gestures; it is a compilation of small acts of warmth. It’s a genuine smile, listening without judgment, a warm embrace or touch on a shoulder that can make another person feel your kindness and positive vibrations.

Our world is in dire need of compassionate souls who are willing to selflessly help others. Lack of compassion in our world is a shared human reality. We can make the world a more compassionate place if we do our part to make ourselves more compassionate.

“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.” ~ Dalai Lama

Ref: medium.com and www.purposefairy.com

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