Compassion can be learned by adults and children

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Compassion is about empathy for the suffering of another person, combined with taking action to ease their distress. It is not enough to see what someone is going through, though the ability to put ourselves in their shoes and trying to feel what they are feeling is the starting point for taking action.

With compassion, we eliminate our judgments of others, but rather ask ourselves How they may be suffering, then being perceptive with what we are seeing. Even children can learn to read facial expressions and body language to determine what a person may be feeling or dealing with. A simple question like, what’s happening, may open our eyes further and if we are willing to take the time to listen, without judgment.

Compassion is not just a fixed mindset either. If it is not a virtue that comes to us naturally, science has shown that compassion can be learned. It begins with mindful awareness of the feelings of others and focusing on their needs rather than comparing what challenges we are facing with the other person. Then we can grow our empathy and compassion with regularly asking ourselves questions like the following:

In the morning;
What am I grateful for today?  How can I show kindness to someone today?

Then meditate, consider, or reflect on your blessings and how you can pay it forward.

In the evening reflect;
Think about the people you met in the day. Were you as kind as you set out to be this morning? How could you improve? What could you set your intention for tomorrow that would be compassionate?

With a practice in the morning and the evening, you are getting your day started and ended with the practice of compassion on your mind. If you do this practice with your children, it will help build this virtue within them. The practice of compassion brings happiness to the giver and receiver.

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