Why America is a country that consumes more than 25% of the world’s resources, is attacked by an epidemic of loneliness, depression, and anxiety? Why do people in the West who have all of their basic needs meet still feel impoverished? No, it’s not the economy but the lack of compassion. We have to start becoming less selfish. We need to start thinking more naturally. We need to stop labeling ourselves by nationality, race, or religion. These are man-made labels. But those labels can be blurred by being compassionate. You can develop true compassion by mastering the art of forgiveness and learn to love others unconditionally. Showing Compassion at an early age is most crucial to shaping life, and teaching compassion to children is the first step.
Why compassion before grades?
Once you start learning and teaching yourself about the world we live in, you will start to see how merciless our behavior is as human beings. For that, we first need to sculpt the brains of the future – the teenagers. They are curious and passionate. They are also often overwhelmed and unsure. One in five teenagers faces depression. Nearly half of the children in the world face some sort of severe adversity or trauma during their childhood. Only in the United States, over 16 million children live in families that struggle to afford basic education.
How can teenagers excel in high school? How can they further their education? How can they consider their contribution to the greater good when they are facing so much of life with so few resources? For most children in the world, hope rests in the hearts of teachers. Teachers are that champion when they see their role not just as a distributor of content but as an unconditional partner in learning. A caring and abiding presence in the life of a child who commits to showing that child love first and then to teach them to love learning. Teachers across the world share soul-wrenching stories of devastating teenage years and that are the core reason why people have started seeing their job that requires love first before teaching.
Science of Showing Compassion
Science plays an important role in maintaining the karmic transactions. When we focus on others, our world expands. When we give attention to interpersonal relationships our problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller. We start increasing our capacity for connection. Emotion researchers explain, the compassion is the feeling that arises when we are confronted with people’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering. People often confuse or relate compassion with empathy and altruism.
By being in emotional agreement, we become part of the problem instead of part of the solution. Only in a detached state, we can truly hold space for others to heal or change their life. Recent research reveals that compassion isn’t something we are either born with or not. Showing Compassion is an unconditional skill that can be strengthened through specific exercises and practice. Cultivating compassion requires science-based practices. Here are a few tips to do so:
Find similarities: It’s very practical and often seen when people find themselves as similar to others, they increase feelings of compassion. A recent study shows that simply chatting with others with the same rhythm increases compassionate behavior.
Encourage cooperation over competition: In Colorado, simply changing a game as a “Community Game” increased players levels of cooperation and sharing behavior that failed previously as “Wall Street Game” name.
True power lies behind being good: You just have to believe that you are able to make a difference, then only you are likely to suppress your feelings of compassion.
Good compassion feels real good: Your compassionate action activates your brain’s reward center. The joy that comes from compassion can be heartful and productive especially when it comes from the achievements of others.
Set your own example: Compassion is contagious. Parents, teachers, and caregivers must teach and cultivate compassion in children and the best practice to lead by your own example.
Compassion, to change the world
Compassion is the ticking crucial factor necessary to create positive change in the world. Unfortunately, most of us are selfish and focus on ourselves, our families, and our own wealth and pleasures. Human activities have turned threatening to the ecosystem. Over a period of 40 years from 1970 to 2010, the populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish have declined by 52% due to human environmental impact. Humans have been killing them for food in unsustainable numbers while polluting or destroying their habitats. If half the animals died in any zoo the next day it would be front-page news, but that is happening in the great outdoors. The damages we are witnessing are not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live.
For instance, bees, an insect we are so dependent on, has been disappearing in recent decades. In a year between April 1, 2018, and April April 1, 2019, the managed bee population decreased by 40.7%. Bees aren’t merely necessary to sweeten our teas, they are essential for our sheer survival.
“If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.” –Albert Einstein
Mindfulness is a very simple process of observing the present moment. There are many mindfulness programs that can be an opportunity for educators to introduce a simple practice that promotes a peaceful and compassionate atmosphere. For example, “Think before you speak,” mindfulness teaches us to pause before we react.