The Extraordinary Power of Compassion

Power of Compassion

by Sana Bagersh

Harness the Power of Compassion at Home and at Work

From the moment we humans are born, we start assimilating into the world by mirroring others around us, from facial expressions to body movements. This attribute of identifying with others is a critical part of becoming human. It assures that we bond within our communities and survive as a species. It is inherent to what defines us as human, and gives us the power of compassion.

Compassion is not the same as empathy, or even altruism. It is an actual response, to help relieve someone else’s suffering. Merriam Webster defines compassion as “wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in trouble etc”.

The amazing thing about compassion is that it is also contagious.

Think of the tragedies in Aleppo; the little boy sitting dazed in the ambulance after his home was bombed, or the two boys crying and consoling each after losing a sibling, or the poignant scenes after the Amatrice earthquake.

“It is my belief also that compassion is not an individual response, but a movement. It is a reflection of true leadership at the highest levels, and a code of conduct that should permeate through society.”

More than ever before, we as humans are accosted by images of tragedy, every hour, minute, second. If we don’t see it in the news, it gets delivered to us via social media; if we don’t get it through the media, someone tells us about it. We can choose to turn away from these external stimuli, and shut off the world, but our human nature tells us to do something. Otherwise we feel a dissonance that gnaws us from the inside.

We must resist becoming sponges, paralysed by feelings of helplessness and frustration. Rather, we can focus on what we can do, however small, within our own spheres of influence and reach. There are always things we can do to make a person’s life a bit easier, from making a phone call, to helping someone with a task, to providing advice and counseling, to giving or lending money. What ceases to surprise me is how sometimes the smallest of gestures by one person can potentially transform the life of another human being.

Children who are brought up within a belief system that stresses compassion end up being more socially adept and more content. It is the same for adults.

It is my belief also that compassion is not an individual response, but a movement. It is a reflection of true leadership at the highest levels, and a code of conduct that should permeate through society. When policies are made, or agreements concluded, compassion can be factored into the negotiation and business dealing. Just like ‘goodwill’ has become a standard reference in business language, compassion should also be part of the corporate lexicon.

Just like ‘goodwill’ has become a standard reference in business language, compassion should also be part of the corporate lexicon.

While some continue to dismiss compassion as an irrational response to a situation, there is research to support its tangible benefits to those humans who show compassion. The heart rate slows down perceptibly and we release that “bonding and happiness hormone”, oxytocin. When we show compassion to others, we reinforce brain circuits that are linked to pleasure and contentment, while stimulating the Vagus Nerve that protects our hearts.

Lead by example and demonstrate compassion in everything you do.

All religions promote the principles of compassion as core to human existence. In Islam, it is the idea of ‘rahma’ that urges us to choose to be kinder, to be more generous and to be more forgiving. Children who are brought up within a belief system that stresses compassion end up being more socially adept and more content. It is the same for adults. Research demonstrates that employees who are in more compassionate workplaces are more productive and happy; they feel greater loyalty to the organization, and they share a sense of common purpose.

The amazing thing about compassion is that it is also contagious. Lead by example and demonstrate compassion in everything you do, and you’ll soon see your circle of compassionate grow as big as the world.

Liked it?! Share it! 🙂Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page