Compassion actually means “to undergo collectively.” Amongst emotion researchers, it’s outlined as the sensation that arises if you end up confronted with one other’s struggling and really feel motivated to alleviate that struggling.
Compassion just isn’t the identical as empathy or altruism, although the ideas are associated. Whereas empathy refers extra typically to our means to take the angle of and really feel the feelings of one other individual, compassion is when these emotions and ideas embrace the will to assist. Altruism, in flip, is the type, selfless conduct usually prompted by emotions of compassion, although one can really feel compassion with out performing on it, and altruism isn’t at all times motivated by compassion.
Whereas cynics could dismiss compassion as touchy-feely or irrational, scientists have began to map the organic foundation of compassion, suggesting its deep evolutionary goal. This analysis has proven that once we really feel compassion, our coronary heart charge slows down, we secrete the “bonding hormone” oxytocin, and areas of the mind linked to empathy, caregiving, and emotions of delight mild up, which regularly leads to our desirous to strategy and look after different individuals.
For extra: Find out about self-compassion and compassion fatigue. Learn Dacher Keltner’s essay on “The Compassionate Intuition” and Paul Ekman’s “Taxonomy of Compassion,” which evaluations several types of compassion.