Compassion grows when we focus more on what is the same, rather than what is different. Having empathy for someone means we understand the perspective or circumstances of that person or group. Often, we empathise with those who are more like ourselves. When we focus on compassion, we recognise the common humanity of all people and have a strong desire to help people irrespective of background and circumstances. The thought of “how can I help”, dominates. Compassion involves deliberate action, it is solution focused and generative. Compassion can be expressed through deep listening, small acts of kindness, encouraging others and serving in response to “how can I help”?
God’s encouragement to love our neighbour as ourselves is a reminder of the importance of caring for self and others. To care for others, we also need to care for ourselves. We need to be accepting of mistakes we make and learn through them, be self-aware and ensure we have rest, recreation and connection. Our interactions can then be informed from the perspective of, “How can I help?”.