Today, more than ever, it is becoming clear that women will change the world. Why? Because they feel compassion in a way that men don’t and compassion is the key to changing the world.
Political differences, mass shootings, devastating forest fires and just the general slog of living in the modern world has made the need for compassion even more important.
What is compassion and why do we need it?
Dictionary.com defines compassion as an emotional reaction to witnessing another’s suffering, coupled with the desire to help the person who is in pain.
In this day and age, when people are suffering on both a global and personal level, having someone reach out a hand to help can truly make the difference between life and death.
That’s how important it is.
So, what kind of woman is naturally compassionate?
#1 – Women who are survivors.
Women who are compassionate are, more often than not, women who have struggled with hardship themselves. Who have gone through hell and back and survived.
Why? Because women who have suffered truly understand the suffering of others. Truly, right down to their bones, because they have suffered themselves.
I have a client whose husband left her years ago and her struggle to survive that abandonment was profound. She made it though, after a lot of pain and hard work. And now she is involved with a man who is at the last stages of his divorce from his wife of many years. It is taking a while because his wife doesn’t want the divorce.
Her friends ask her if she is angry that the divorce isn’t moving forward but she isn’t. She has nothing but compassion for this woman because she knows exactly what she is going through. She also knows that she survived it and that this woman will too.
#2 – Women who have self-compassion.
Women who are compassionate, more often than not, have self-compassion.
Why? Because how can someone treat someone compassionately if they have no idea how to treat themselves so?
Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing themselves for their shortcomings, women with self-compassion are kind and understanding to themselves when confronted with personal failings. They understand that they are just like other people, working hard to be the best person that they can be in spite of sometimes insurmountable odds.
Once a person can be truly aware of the humanness of themselves they can more easily recognize and empathize the suffering of another.
After my divorce I self-flagellated constantly. I felt that I was completely at fault for the demise of my marriage and was happy to bear that cross daily. As a result, I was super angry at my ex for leaving me. I resented his new happiness with his new wife and celebrated when his life took a downturn.
In recent years I have come to see that there were two people in that relationship and that we both had blame to share. As I have forgiven myself for my failure in my marriage, I have been more able to have compassion for my ex-husbands actions, to see how his unhappiness led to him making the choice that he did and accepting that it was all for the best.
I know that, without my self-compassion, my ex-husband and I, and our kids, wouldn’t be in the good place that we are today.
#3 – Women who are mindful.
Women who are compassionate are people who are mindful. Women who are mindful are living in the minute, paying attention to those around them and willing to take action when necessary.
How can someone whose head is down, focused on their phone, even notice someone who is suffering? How can someone who is always looking ahead to what is next reach out and help someone who needs them in the minute? How can someone who notices, but doesn’t take action, make the difference in life of someone who needs them?
How about you? When was the last time you looked up from your phone and saw someone suffering? What did you do? Did you quickly look back down at your phone, hoping someone else would help, or did you step up and take action to help that person in need?
Keep your head up. And take action when necessary.
#4 – Women who are generous.
Women who are compassionate are always generous, sometimes to a fault.
Women who are generous seek to give unto others with no need for anything in return.
I have a client whose boyfriend has really been struggling. His mother is sick and his work is going badly and he spends much of his time just trying to keep his mental health above water. My client loves her boyfriend and wants to support him but she was getting sick of getting absolutely nothing in return.
As a result, she started to be resentful of all that she gave to him. She wanted him to acknowledge and reciprocate all that she did for him. And what did that do? It made everything worse for her man because now he had to be responsible to his girlfriend for her happiness too.
If someone you love needs you right now, be generous with your time and your love. Don’t expect anything in return. Help them get through this tough time without having to worry about you. You never know when in the future you might need their compassion too.
#5 – Women who are grateful.
Women who are compassionate are grateful.
Women who are compassionate know how they lucky they are to have the life that they have. They recognize the gift that is their life and how lucky they are to have it.
Because they are grateful they can help people who are struggling see the good in the world, to recognize the gifts that they have and teach them to reach for the happiness they want. They have a clear picture of what contentment looks like and can guide a needy someone towards that light.
Women who take their life for granted, who seek additional adulation and riches, who don’t recognize how lucky they are to have what they have, are people who aren’t likely to see the good in the world and will struggle to identify and empathize with people because for them the world is all about needing more.
I know that every day I wake up in my beautiful house, laugh at my silly dog and celebrate having found the love of my life. I know that I am supremely lucky and it helps me be the truly compassionate life coach that I am.
So, look around. How lucky are you?
If you look around this world full of conflict and hatred and you are wondering what you can do to make a difference, I would suggest that cultivating compassion would be a gift to everyone. Because women who cultivate compassion will save the world.
Next time you see someone who is struggling, step forward and reach out your hand. Recognize that suffering is the human condition but that in it there is the hope for joy and acceptance. Be grateful for all that you have and share what you have with others.
If you can make the difference in the life of even one person, what a gift that will be!
Do you want to cultivate compassion and change the world?
Let me help you, NOW, and you can start making a difference today!
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.