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Compassion Takes Mindset Training

“If you can be taught to hate, you can be trained to love.”

I approach every morning the same way: I jump out of bed and wonder how I will make a positive contribution to the world. Six days out of seven, I do not notice much return on my positive attitude and the way I treat others around me. Then, on the last day of the week, someone tells me: “you always make my day!”

It comes as a surprise; I’m caught a little off guard, so I just thank them graciously and wish them well. Why do I thank them? Because they took the time to express their gratitude. They helped me stay confident in continuing to be as compassionate as I can be.

I was not that nice to everyone a year ago. My positivity depended hugely on the context or my emotions. I also never prioritized others in my intentions. It was fast apparent I was only showing signs of compassion a minority of the time, and I was definitely not known as a compassionate person.

So I decided to learn how to become a lot more compassionate. I wanted to play a small part in someone else’s story. I became a better friend, a better family member, and a better acquaintance to anyone who crossed my path; I started making people’s day better.

 

Why am I talking about compassion?

Recently, celebrities Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande have called out negative body-shaming comments on their social media accounts. Expressing that no one actually knows what’s going on behind the scenes in someone’s life, they urged fans to be more compassionate.

Social media can be an echo chamber of negativity. In the real world as well, negativity can be everywhere. We have to control how much we ingest of it.

Negative comments can be especially harmful when they affect our self-image. If we conceptualize ourselves in the eyes of other people, we are susceptible to their projected pain and hate.

The only way to build a stronger self-image, impenetrable to others’ negativity, and to stop tearing down others, is to be trained in compassion.

What do I mean by compassion?

Compassion is not simply a behavior or an action we practice. It is far more than that. I believe it is an identity characteristic we can build.

Most importantly, we choose to be compassionate for the good of others rather than as a self-serving act. I choose to practice compassion for the good of other people, not simply to be perceived as a good person.

Actions will only take us so far; they will stop after a certain amount of time. When we decide we want compassion to be part of our “identity” we have far better chances of upholding compassionate actions for a long time.

 

What does compassion look like?

Practicing gratitude! It is the first step to changing your mindset. If you say something you are grateful out loud, or express it to someone, you take a first step in creating a deep connection either with yourself or the other person. That deep connection is the seed to compassion. Once you adopt a more grateful and positive mindset, you are less likely to act, or think, negatively.

Compassion is also a deep feeling which makes you live in the present moment. This helps you improve your active listening in conversation, improving a connection with somebody else.

Being present and actively listening then leads you to talking more positively. Sooner than later, you’ll realise the benefits of practicing compassion. It’s the moments you focus on making other peoples’ day a little better which start to become second nature to you.

 

Compassion is a mindset we must train every single day.

If our culture shapes us to have a certain opinion, or point of view, then we have to work hard to break the mould.

We tend to box people into categories we judge based on race, gender, and wealth. When we practice compassion, we have to think beyond the boxes.

The reason we put people in boxes is simplicity (the brain is lazy) we have to work hard repeatedly to not judge them. We have to try interact with their unique story

Let me tell you about the return on compassion.

It changes your life. Not only do you start your unique journey of being more positive than the majority of people, but you also start to have unique bonds with certain individuals around you. You stand out to people because compassion makes you stand out.

A word of caution: you do not live your life for other people. Compassion still makes you the main character of your own story. However, it gives your story a greater purpose. You enjoy a lot more when you build genuine connections with those around you.

 

Compassion gives our actions purpose, and a more fulfilling life.

Even with the advent of technology and social media, our human wants stay the same throughout history: we want to find love, whether that be romantic or platonic, and we want to find purpose.

The world is an emotional place. The best way to find your purpose in it is by starting to be more compassionate today.

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