Compassion is action June 29, 2016 – Posted in: Advice, Leaders and Teams, Relationships – Tags: , , , ,


We all know that actions speak louder than words and this is especially pertinent when it comes to compassion.

You see, we might feel compassion for a person but unless we show it that person will be none the wiser.

If I notice someone crying I have a choice. I can feel compassion for them and walk past them OR I can feel compassion for them and ask them if there’s anything I can do to help.

It’s perfectly plausible to think that the person crying wants to be alone and that you’ll be showing compassion by leaving them in peace. But surely this is often a cop-out because we simply don’t know how to handle the emotions of another person…?

Several years ago I walked past a woman sat crying on a bench in central Bath. She was alone. I walked past her thinking she probably wanted to be alone (and I was hurrying to get somewhere) but then I walked back because I thought that if I was in her position I might need someone to talk to.

I sat next to her and asked if there was anything I could do. She cried harder and then spilled out all the reasons for her tears. She felt utterly alone and unable to make the massive decision she was facing.

It was such simple act to just listen to her, this stranger on a bench. And that was all I did; listen. I couldn’t solve her problem but I could sit with her for ten minutes while she poured out her troubles.

After that time she became embarrassed that she’d told so much to a stranger and the compassionate thing to do then was to leave her alone. I’ve often thought of her and hoped that she found her way through her troubles.

Compassion doesn’t have to be a big thing. I believe it’s our small acts of kindness that make us compassionate people.

But, action is required to show compassion. Otherwise it’s just an empty feeling.

And, as with all these things, the more compassion I show to others the better I feel about myself. The virtuous circle of a life lived trying to repeatedly do the next right thing.

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