Many of us are overwhelmed with a sense that we want to show love and compassion to those around us in today’s world. We find that we are driven to help others and live with a purpose. We, ourselves, have been shown compassion and would like to pay it forward. But how can we be sure that others can feel and receive that love? How can we be sure that we are true to ourselves and don’t let others take advantage of us, while we express ourselves through love, generosity, gratitude, and joy?
There are four main ways that we can show compassion to others while still caring for ourselves. It is not all or nothing. Showing ourselves compassion is just as important as being compassionate to others.
4 Main Ways to Show Compassion
- Be lovingly present. Be here now. Live in this moment.
When we are present, we are in the moment, we give those around us our full attention. This is easier said than done, though. We live distracted lives whether we are on our phones or other devices, thinking ahead to what we want to do or say next, remembering a conversation from earlier, or worrying about tomorrow. But we can use mindfulness as a way to counter this tendency.
We can become more present with what is happening right now rather than being distracted. Mindfulness also helps us to be present with ourselves, recognize any traps that might get in our way, and be present with others to tune in to what they are expressing but may or may not be saying. This is a vital aspect of compassion that we can incorporate into our relationships. Let’s remember that the person in front of us right now deserves our respect, attention, care, and curiosity.
- Be lovingly courageous. Choose courage over comfort.
When we’re present, in the moment, with another person, we can choose to be courageous rather than comfortable. Humans strive for certainty and safety. We will do almost anything to remain safe and comfy rather than face danger and discomfort.
We often convince ourselves that staying in our comfort zone is the best thing to do. Living in compassion asks us to open our hearts and minds to others. We must consider the difficult feelings they may be having. This requires courage. We might have to face fear about an uncomfortable conversation or hearing negative news. But with courage, we will find the inner strength to overcome that fear and still be present in difficult situations.
Courage is the willingness to move out of our comfort zones. When we open ourselves up to difficult emotions – our own or others’ – and don’t run away from them, the chance for deeper connection blossoms.
- Use loving candor. Kind and direct.
Once we are living compassionately and courageously in the moment, the next step is to communicate with kindness and loving candor. This often takes a great deal of courage. However, being direct and straightforward can appear brutally honest. Candor is simply stating our unfiltered opinions. But by expressing yourself with loving candor, you can deliver your message in the kindest and most direct way. This allows the other person to receive it quickly. The real and deep conversation can begin. Loving candor is not a free pass to speak your mind with all the confusion that happens in a heated moment, but rather, it means being direct and decisive while also remaining authentically open to other people’s perspectives and demonstrating care for their emotions and well-being.
- Lovingly Transparent. Clarity is kindness.
Loving transparency means getting ideas and thoughts out in the open – to make the invisible visible. It means being open and honest about what is on our minds and in our hearts. We strip away the power that comes with knowledge and even the playing field. As a result, people know where they stand and what comes next. Transparency is distinct from candor in that you can be candid and still conceal information. When you’re transparent, people know what is on your mind. And when you add loving-kindness to transparency, people also know what is in your heart.
When we start the journey towards greater compassion, using these four steps as our guide, we are present in our interactions with others, and we have the courage to show up with candor and transparency. And when we show up in this way, we make it possible for others to show up with presence, courage, candor, and transparency too. Over time, this compassionate way of living becomes our default, our expectation, of others and ourselves.
Leading our lives with compassion can give us a fresh perspective on life… To see clearly and realize that anything is possible with lipedema!