This month’s discussion topic is compassion. Although I believe I understand the concept, I decided to do a little research so as to glean a better view of its importance to the human condition. I found that it means to suffer together or the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering. While there may be those that categorize it as too touchy-feeling or too emotionally laden, research has shown that when we feel compassion our heart rate slows down and we secrete the bonding hormone oxytocin. Compassion makes us better people who are more optimistic and supportive. It makes us better parents as we guide our young ones on their journey with care and nurturance. It makes us kinder people who resist the coarseness that too often confronts us. Having compassion allows us to assume the best in others and to be outward focused, thus finding commonalities with other people. Most importantly, compassion is often accompanied by beautiful acts of kindness that brighten our world.
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