Compassion begins with sympathy, which is seeing someone’s pain. It is noticing a student who skins his knee or a friend who hurts her arm. It is being alert to a weary co-worker or a stranger who needs assistance.
Compassion also includes empathy, which is feeling someone’s pain. Once you notice an injury, empathy means you imagine how much it hurts. This creates a feeling of duty, responsibility, and sometimes urgency to help find a remedy.
This brings us to the full meaning of compassion, which is doing something to relieve someone’s pain. It is not enough to see needs and feel badly for those who are hurting. Compassion means getting involved, investing in others, and finding ways to “bear someone’s burden” in order for healing to occur.
(Permission granted to reproduce this lesson for educational use. Credit: CharacterFirstEd.com)