Blog Post #499 Caring and Compassionate

Coaching for Life Success:  Being caring and compassionate

Many people are hurting.  Somebody in their family died; somebody has cancer; somebody is getting divorced; somebody is having a tough time in school; somebody is being bullied; somebody is having financial difficulties; somebody is experiencing a mental illness and melting down, and many other reasons to hurt.

As a man, I find it hard sometimes to show compassion to those that are hurting.  So, let’s look at these 10 ways of showing compassion:

1- start with yourself.  Do you show compassion to yourself?  Yes, we all make mistakes – but we do need to start with a positive attitude and forgive ourselves.

2- Communication verbally and non-verbally.  On the verbal side, be an active listener, give positive feedback, ask supportive open-ended question.  On the nonverbal side, have good eye contact (don’t just stare at the person, but also, don’t look away).  Use appropriate nonverbal cues – like smiling, laughing – where appropriate and a serious face where appropriate.  Stand close (but not too close – don’t get in their physical space – until later).

3 – Touch (if appropriate).  You may want to check first – “can I give you a hug since you have been through a lot”? Touch their shoulder.  You might even put your hand on top of their hand if you are sitting at a table. It lets the person know you care.

4 – Encourage others.  Praise and encouragement can also be part of caring and compassion.  “This too shall pass” is maybe too trite. Maybe more like (again), “You sure have been through a lot”.  “You are such a tough person to be able to handle this”.

5- Express yourself.  Just because the other person might be sharing something emotional doesn’t mean that you can’t show your emotions (especially positive).  If they are mad at somebody you can yell and scream with them. Be serious and let your facial expressions support the person. Smile, when appropriate, even laugh when appropriate.  Let your face and body language say “I really do care”.

6 – Show kindness.  The article says ‘kindness is contagious’.  Smile, be genuine and be kind. There is an expression “If you can be anything, be kind”.  The article also adds “The world is made better through your kindness.”

7 –  Respect their privacy.  Protect their dignity; go for a quiet walk with the person.  Don’t do it in front of an audience.

8 – Learn how to advocate.  You need to listen actively and help them determine a process – and how to find help in the community with them (not necessarily ‘for’ them).

9 – Volunteer.  Cultivate compassion by being a volunteer.  The article suggests “Spending time helping people is good for your body, mind, and soul.”

10 – Consider your words.  Think before you speak. Turn off your cell phone so you can give your undivided attention to the person.

This article ends with this statement “Compassion arises through empathy and is characterized by actions. The simple act of showing compassion can make a world of difference in someone’s day (and in yours!). You don’t need to wait for a crisis to practice compassion, either. Try smiling at a stranger today.”

Are you compassionate and caring?  Can you smile and encourage others?


Posted by Bruce White

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