If you want to others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. – Dalai Lama

“Maybe you should try practicing some compassion,” I said to my friend.

“I do! I try to think of what I did to trigger his actions. What can I say that will make him not get upset?”

My friend was stuck in herself. What could she say or do that would make someone else behave differently? That’s not practicing compassion, that’s practicing controlling. (Controlling can masquerade as consideration, but that’s a topic for another day.)

Compassion employs empathy to imagine what it must be like to be that person in that moment.

Here’s an example:

Sometimes my husband works from home. He’ll come upstairs for lunch and grab a sandwich and then disappear downstairs.

Selfishness takes it personally, “What did I do that made him go back downstairs? Did I piss him off?”  Selfishness creates disharmony.

Compassion says “He must have so much to do, I bet he’s feeling a lot of stress.  How can I help?”

Compassion is the source of harmony.  When I am able to practice a genuine compassion for my family, my customers, my colleagues, my friends, and even complete strangers, then my mind is at ease. I’m happy. If I’m thinking of what other people are going through it’s easier to see where I can be most useful.  Being useful helps other people, which in turn makes them happy.

Just for Today

Today I will look at  where  selfishness has had free rein. I will try to imagine what others’ lives are like and try not to take things so personally.


God, thanks for demonstrating compassion for me.  Help me today to follow your example and practice compassion especially towards those people who really irritate me.  Help me to remember that the practice of compassion is to help rid me of selfishness and discord.  May I do your will.



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6 thoughts on “Compassion

  1. It’s hard to have compassion when I am hungry! I love this line: If I’m thinking of what other people are going through it’s easier to see where I can be most useful.

    Thanks Heather!


  2. This is EXACTLY what I needed to read today! An old ‘friend’ that betrayed me and really let me down came up in my old pictures on Facebook. I immediately felt disgust and anger. And then I was mystified. How could I hold a grudge for so long for someone who is truly mentally ill? I am praying for compassion and forgiveness. I do not want to carry around hate in my heart. Hate corrodes the container that holds it. God, please let me release these feelings of anger and judgement. Amen.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well said, Heather.

    Even as I am grieving right now, it’s great to have the reminder to purpose to have compassion for others. Thinking of how to help others, to be a blessing to them, is part of us obeying two of Jesus’ commandments to us-to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, and to love one another as He loves us.


    1. I’m sorry you’re grieving. I found that grief helped me access more compassion than I had before. I guess it’s difficult to truly empathize when you haven’t had a similar experience.


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