Compassion, unlike confidence and competence, is the first of the critical areas of growth that extends beyond the boundaries of self and acknowledges the importance of others. When you experience compassion for others – whether family members, friends, teachers, coaches, mentors, and people in the community, you contribute to their well-being as well as having your own well-being enhanced.
Compassion draws on the notion that we as humans are inherently social creatures. No matter how confident or competent we may be, we still need other people to create healthy, productive lives. Ultimately, a person who is compassionate toward others is in tune with himself or herself. He or she has an awareness of their feelings and thoughts as they relate to both others and self. Have you ever volunteered to do something for someone without having to be recognized for doing it? Have you ever volunteered to do something for someone when the recipient of your efforts was not able to express appreciation? Have you ever visited a nursing home to encourage an incapacitated senior who was not a relative or someone you knew? Your answer to these questions may be a resounding, “no.” However, when you come to the realization that you are important and that you matter and are valued, you will begin to experience a love that controls and compels you to have compassion for others. This love is found in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).