Why is Compassion Important?
“Self-compassion leads to compassion for everyone, and further broadens my perspective.”
Like learning to harness any other tool (or hunt a fox), becoming mindfully adept takes willingness, time, concerted effort, and repetition. But my ego is a tireless opponent that takes a no-holds-barred approach, using any tactics available to ensure it dominates my perspective.
Given these odds, it's only a matter of time before I lose a battle (or thousands, throughout the war). And when this inevitability occurs, it's all too easy to react harshly, scold myself, or worse, give up the journey altogether.
And it’s not always better when I win, either!
Even after shining a light on my ego, it’s easy to mentally smack it upside its head and send it on its way. Here’s where compassion enters the picture.
Dictionary.com defines compassion as "a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine makes it even simpler, stating that it “literally means ‘to suffer together.’”
By recognizing that my ego and I are both “suffering,” and that we’re just two sides of the same coin, I understand that sending it negative energy only circles back like a boomerang. Scolding myself, or my ego, only makes me feel like shit and at the end of the day, doesn’t move me any closer to completing the work that needs to be done.
Instead, by acknowledging that my ego and I require compassion, I'm better able to recognize—and respond to—this same need in others.
Bottom line: Self-compassion leads to compassion for everyone. It further broadens my perspective; the palette from which I paint my world.