1. Become more empathic
The amount of empathy you have determines the level to which you are able to understand and feel what another person is experiencing. I am sure that you can see that in order to be a compassionate person, you’ll have to understand how to help others first.
It is all well and good to be supportive if someone you love is going through a tough time, but are you also helping that person solve their problems?
Without a certain level of empathy that is simply impossible to do.
But how exactly do we become more empathic? Well it really isn’t that hard! Here are some of the things you should focus on if you wish to become a more empathic, and therefore a more compassionate person.
You should step out of your daily environment. We have a habit of following a routine, which is very good. However, this lacks awareness of a massive part of life on earth. We are missing out on different activities, different peoples and different cultures. Traveling around or simply trying new things in your area could give you a much better appreciation for other people.
Step outside of your comfort zone! Similar to the previous point, stepping outside of your comfort zone will give you a new found perspective on life. Try and learn a new skill, such as a martial art, learning a new language or joining a hobby club. That knowledge that you gain in learning these new skills can then be applied when you are trying to understand how someone else is feeling.
You should be an excellent listener! How will you expect to understand the feelings of another person if you do not listen to them? Being a good listener is a crucial aspect of being a good communicator.
Ask your friends and family for feedback on your support in tough times. When the people around you are able to explain to you what they were going through at a certain time, you should absorb this information and learn from it. Ask them if they wish that you had done something more. Then keep this in mind for next time!
2. Practice self-compassion on a daily basis.
While being a compassionate person focuses on being so towards other people, it is still of great importance to also be compassionate to yourself.
If you are not self-compassionate, then you will find it very hard to become more compassionate towards other people.
Think about self-compassion as continued practice for being a compassionate person!
It doesn’t just have these external benefits however. We tend to be a lot tougher on ourselves than on others. If you notice that you are too critical or too judgy of yourself, then you will likely benefit greatly from this strategy!
So what are some daily methods we can use to build up our self-compassion?
Practicing mindfulness is a great way to learn more about ourselves. While in the previous point we saw how empathy was used to better understand others. Well, if we want to know more about ourselves, we should make use of mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation is a great was of exploring and understanding our inner self. This is not a mindfulness blog, but more information regarding this can be found via here!
Increase your emotional maturity, so you understand the long term benefits of being more compassionate. An emotionally mature person is characterized by their ability to be in full control of their emotions. They do not let things get out of hand, so they are easier on themselves. As your emotional maturity grows, so does your understanding of yourself. I have written an in-depth article on increasing your emotional maturity, if you are interested you can find it here!
Treat yourself as if you were a loved one. I mentioned before that we are usually a lot tougher on ourselves than we are on others. Well, a great way to counteract this is to simply ask ourselves: “How would I treat my mom or dad in this situation.” More often then not you will realize that you would be a lot easier on them. Then simply just apply that to yourself!
3. Don’t judge a book by its cover
There is almost nothing more human in this world than judging other people. It is what nature intended us to do. However, in the modern day and age, it can get us into trouble at times.
Judging others based on whatever, without gaining more knowledge about who they are, stands in direct conflict with being a compassionate person.
Compassion is all about a deep awareness of the feelings of another person and wanting to help them! When we are judgmental, we often forgo the awareness part. This keeps us from being able to give that person the best personal advice.
Luckily for us, strategies do exist to limit how much we judge and how quickly we jump to conclusions based on those judgements.
We have to become more aware of how other people live their lives. By understanding others, we are able to learn how different people operate and chose to live their life. Expanding our social circle puts us into contact with people from different backgrounds than our own. It creates an appreciation in the struggles faced by other people
I know that being social can be hard for some. I consider myself quite introverted and have struggled with this quite frequently. Over the last few years, I have found ways to enjoy being social, and I suggest you find some as well!
Write your judgments down and reflect on them. Whether a judgement is positive or negative, it is always an opportunity for learning. Whenever you catch yourself making a judgement, write it down in a journal as fast as you can. Then when you find some time, reflect on it. What caused you to make that judgement? Have you made it before? If so, how did it turn out later?
Reflecting on our judgments in such a way is great for gaining more experience. It will be a great boost in becoming a more compassionate person!
4. Become an active listener
As I mentioned in the part of empathy, being an excellent listener is absolutely key if you want to positively influence someone else’s life. Being a good listener doesn’t just consist of being there and hearing what they are saying. It is your job to dig deep so that you are able to fully understand the situation that your loved ones find themselves in.
Instead of just giving tips on how to listen better, I think it is more useful to break bad listening habits that you might have. Let’s get into some listening habits that you need to break.
Before you respond to someone, make sure that they have actually finished talking. Whenever I listen to someone, in the middle of their explanation I already think I have the solution. Often times this solution is clearly not feasible once the full explanation has been said. It is important that you listen to the full story before you interrupt with a possible solution. This also ensures that the tension of the conversation stays relatively low, as you don’t have to keep going back and forth.
Not waiting for the full story also comes across as you not really caring. It makes it seem like you just want to give a quick solution and are not interested in spending your time trying to help out that person. Try and refrain from interrupting when someone else really needs to explain everything in detail!
You should aim to truly help out, not just be polite. The worst thing you can do to someone that is struggling, is being polite instead of being helpful. Sometimes you just have to give the person a reality check. If they are having a breakdown because they are not in the shape they want to be, instead of saying that they are ok and look fine, tell them they need to get serious about an exercise and diet regime.
At the end of the day your goal is to help out your family and friends the best way you can right? Be real with them. Of course say this in a nice way, and pick your time to say it wisely!
This also brings up an important point of the people you surround yourself with. If the people around you are all yes-men, then you are in trouble. Always have some people with you that keep it real and aren’t afraid to speak the truth and call you out when you are going down the wrong path. It will ensure you stay on track for long-term success.
Make sure you don’t let your own agenda get in the way of helping someone else. When another person is going through a tough time, we can have presumptions on why they find themselves in this situation. While these thoughts can be accurate, there is likely much more going on beneath the surface that we are unable to see. It is again a case of not judging, and making sure you know all the information before you start to help out that person in need.