“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” —Dalai Lama
I have the practice of being very kind with older people, meeting them, listening to their stories and experiences with patience; and appreciating their experiences and contribution to the society. At times, I include their experiences, memories and messages in my books depending on the theme of the book. Over the discussions, I understood that there is a decrease in compassion globally. Some of the reasons include the rapid growth in technologies and scarcity of time. It appears that people are in scarcity of time than money currently.
What is Compassion?
Compassion involves caring for others without any reciprocal response. It emphasizes giving without expectations of getting something in return. Compassion is culture specific because what is considered compassion in one culture may not be considered in other cultures.
Compassion means caring for others by ignoring your own interests. Compassion means keeping others’ interests paramount by subordinating your personal interests. Compassion is not weakness. Kahlil Gibran rightly remarked, “Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair but manifestations of strength and resolution.” Compassion is all about genuinely caring for your people. It is handholding them without expecting anything in return. Compassion commands great inner strength, courage, and power. It is one of greatest gifts humans receive from God. But how many of us demonstrate and exercise compassion is a million dollar question.
Currently there is a strong need for compassionate leadership than any other leadership style globally. Compassionate leadership can be defined as the process of alleviating pain and suffering of others by empathizing and expressing with them. It blends both hard and soft skills with a tilt toward soft skills. It requires a new mindset, toolset and skillset to excel as compassionate leaders.
Most people share their happiness and success but only a few are prepared to understand others’ pain and suffering. It is the compassionate leaders who understand the pain and suffering in others and endeavor to alleviate them with their kindness. The religious leaders including Lord Jesus and Buddha are compassionate leaders. Political leaders including Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr are compassionate leaders. Mother Teresa is the mother of compassion and Dalai Lama is the father of compassion. All these leaders have changed the face of the world with their compassion.
Empathetic leaders feel the emotional pain of others. They take appropriate actions to alleviate others’ pain and suffering. They look at the world from the perspective of others. In contrast, compassionate leaders are kind with others.
Compassionate leadership is more needed in the current complex world because people have become very busy with their personal, professional and social challenges. People are in rat race without allocating any time to analyze themselves and identify others’ challenges.
Characteristics of Compassionate Leaders
Usually leaders lead with head, heart and gut but the compassionate leaders lead more with their kind heart. They are a breed apart. They have an unconventional mindset to resolve conflicts and overcome crises. Here are some of the characteristics of compassionate leaders. They lead by example, ethics and etiquette. They have tremendous mental, emotional and spiritual energy and enthusiasm. They involve actively and communicate effectively. They express their emotions and get along with others with emotional intelligence. They manage their moods and emotions and lead others’ moods and emotions. They keep practices before the procedures. They keep others interests above their interests. Above all, they are kindhearted.
How to be Compassionate with Others?
To be compassionate with others, you must have self-knowledge first. Second, you must empathize with others. When you empathize most conflicts in the world can be averted. Third, you must have a heart to add value to others. Above all, you must walk your talk like a compassionate leader. Here are some tips to be compassionate with others.
- Say hello to people when
you meet them. Make them feel important.
- Talk to people from
different generations. Take initiative to meet strangers and talk to them.
Identify specific special traits and elevate them. Ensure that they treat
it as a compliment rather than a flattery.
- Don’t interrupt others
when they speak to you. Be an attentive and empathetic listener.
- Be tolerant with others’
opinions. Respect their opinions. Agree to disagree.
- Apologize when you are
wrong. Remember that to err is human.
- Be kind to everyone.
Don’t remind mistakes of others. Forgive their mistakes because it
requires a huge strength to forgive others.
- Forget unpleasant events
and experiences. Remember, life is great!
- Avoid criticizing,
complaining and condemning others.
- Visualize positive and
- Remember three golden
rules: see no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil.
- Make it a practice to
help at least one person everyday.
- Hold your hand for the
needy. Invest your time with the less privileged because the biggest gift
you can offer to others is your precious time.
- Don’t expect anything
from others. Make a difference in the lives of others to leave your
- Be a giver, not a taker
because there is least competition for givers in the world.
- Volunteer to serve
others. Participate in non-profits to influence and impact others.
Create a Compassionate Global Society
“My message is the practice of compassion, love and kindness. These things are very useful in our daily life, and also for the whole of human society these practices can be very important.” —Dalai Lama
Our global society is not one society. Although we boast in letter that we are one global society but in spirit we are in two worlds—rich and poor. Hence, it is essential to bridge the gap between them to build one global society that is a compassionate global society. Let us declare 21st century as the century to build a compassionate world. It requires moral and ethical foundations to build a compassionate world. It is impossible to create a utopian world but it is very much possible to create a compassionate world. To conclude, there must be coordinated and integrated efforts from all stakeholders including individuals, intellectuals, and international bodies to craft a vision and build one global society—Compassionate Global Society.