Signs That You’re Truly a Compassionate Person
Do you have empathy for others?
To have compassion is to care about someone and their situation. How can you tell if you're truly compassionate? One of the signs is empathy. If you can sense the emotions of those around you, and feel their feelings as if they're your own, you can intuitively see the world through their eyes and share their perspective. You understand, and feel compassion, and this is powerful. An empathetic and compassionate person can hear the unasked questions, and can anticipate the needs of others.
Compassionate people are givers who never expect anything in return. They are normally referred to as kind hearted people who have a belief that what you give to the universe is what you get in return. This is often referred to as karma.
No judgment zone
If you're trying to decipher whether you're truly compassion, some considerations are that the judgment level is non existent, meaning your judgment on the situation is not driving your response, said Lisa Bahar, a marriage and family therapist.
If you're compassionate, "You are less inclined to tell someone what to do, and are more interested in their experience. If they ask what you think that should do, then respond. However, that is not the main idea. Compassion is seeking and wanting to understand," Bahar said.
"You feel connected to others experience, not in a co-dependent way, but in a healthy connective way of being human and understanding or wanting to understand what it must feel like for them. Having an innate feeling of wanting to see them not suffer, it sometimes hurts or feels sad when you are in the presence of one that is experiencing a situation that is causing them pain. This does not mean you take the pain on, it means that you can feel the connection to them in a humanistic way that feels gentle and kind," Bahar said.
Pay attention to how you treat others
"The number one way to tell how compassionate you are is to notice the way you treat yourself when you make a mistake or encounter some imperfection in yourself," said Posy Gering, author of The Next You, Discovering Confidence, Calm and Courage.
Gering provides an assessment method of determing if you're compassionate:
Make a list of your personal “must always do's" and “must never do's." What happens when someone, especially you, violates one of the “rules”? Your reaction will tell you how compassionate you are, she said.
Four common traits
Tiffany Vigil, a marriage and family counselor, shared her four traits that are common in compassionate people:
- Conscientiousness. Compassionate people take the time to be aware of those around them. They are the ones that smile at the stressed-out mom with the crying toddler in the checkout lane and ask if she wants to go ahead in the checkout line. They hold the door for someone whose hands are full. They stop and give specific directions to the lost traveler.
- Nonjudgmental nature. Compassionate individuals tend to view others in the context of the human condition. They don’t judge or blame a person in distress. Instead, they hold on to the understanding that we all go through tough times at some point in our lives. For example, when a compassionate person sees a homeless person, they may think about the journey that got them to where they are instead of belittling or judging them.
- Emotionally centered. Compassionate people are generally emotionally centered. They may have moments where an injustice in the world pulls them into emotions of despair or outrage, but they have a tendency to bounce back into a place of calm action. They think, what can I do to help this situation? How can this situation be transformed so that people come together?
- A sense of the bigger picture. Some compassionate individuals may have a spiritual practice such as meditation, prayer, or involvement in a religious community. On the other hand, some may not be spiritual at all, but have a way of connecting with the broader human spirit through art, music, or shared goals. Compassionate people innately understand the connection between humans and have a desire to better the human condition.