We all agree that the world would have been a much better place to live in, if humans were compassionate to each other instead of being obsessed with selfies.
Perhaps, the root cause of humans not being compassionate enough as they should be is in the evolution of human beings.
My intention of writing this post is not meant to be preaching about compassion and how the reader reading this article must live her/his life and interact with people as I am fully aware that nothing in this world will change just because I wrote an article on compassion.
Things are way they are and there is a reason for it. Partly, due to human evolution and the way God designed us.
Most living species, ever since life existed on earth found a partner to mate so that their species continued to exist till date though many have become extinct. They were meant to be nurturing their offspring until they were grown up to hunt for food for themselves.
Humans were no different except that they possess the most complex of His creations in the universe – the human brain. What differentiates humans from other living beings is emotions – anger, jealousy, happiness etc.
What is compassion really ?
Compassion is not the same as empathy. Compassion is about suffering together and making efforts to alleviate the suffering.
Compassion is not only about the self-motivation to go out of the way to help another person but understanding the reason why someone behaved in a particular way instead of assuming that the person is selfish or inconsiderate.
Most humans are innately compassionate, however, they are also complex creatures. They behave differently with different people and this applies to both men and women:
- Most humans are likely to be compassionate to their loved ones and people they know well such as friends or acquaintance. There will always be exceptions.
- The true test of how compassionate is how they treat strangers and when they hold position of power e.g. as a supervisor.
- There are different forms of expressing compassion. It is not necessarily being kind and nurturing.
So, are women more compassionate than men ?
We need to understand how both men and women are brought up differently.
It is understood that biologically, Oxytocin produced during childbirth triggers the bonding and nurturing behaviors in mothers.
Most girls even until their teens and adulthood are attached to their mothers. Girls during their teens get involved in family discussions along with their mother and understand more about difficulties another family members are learn how to respond to such difficult situations. They become emotionally stronger.
Boys are discouraged from being attached to their mothers. They then spend time with other boys of their age, who are unlikely to be mature and demonstrate a behavior of kindness and compassion to others. Boys do not share their pains with their father too and hence they are left alone to solve their own problems. Crying is seen as a sign of weakness and not being a man by society.
Our personality is shaped based on what we learn in childhood, the environment around us, our upbringing, how our parents behaved and who we interact with.
There are other factors that contribute to the differences in the way boys and girls are brought up differently.
Due to the stereotypes in most societies, girls in their teens are likely to be encouraged to stay at home while boys spend outdoors playing sports.
Most girls develop the habit of reading books at an early age. These could be about relationships, self-help or any genre but reading books develops a habit of understanding another person’s view point, thoughts and pains they experience and how to cope with them.
Boys read books too but usually about cars, gadgets, sports, stock market and a very popular topic (you guessed it right!). Boys who wish to sit at home and read books at home are most likely going to be discouraged from doing so by the women in the home e.g. their mother or sister.
Men express compassion differently. Even men in tough jobs like the army are known to demonstrate compassion when they lose their colleagues.
Does an individual’s profession reveal whether they are compassionate or not ?
Yes. I believe so.
Conservationists, writers, counselors, leadership coaching, human resource are professions that care about others.
Conservationists and animal rights advocates demonstrate that compassion is not only for other human beings but all living beings on earth.
Writers tend to read and research a lot about others experience and then share knowledge with their audience to live a better life.
Can humans who have never been compassionate become compassionate later in life ?
Yes. In India’s history there was an emperor who was well known to be cruel to his people who gave up everything and started preaching Buddhism to the world.
Compassion is not gender based. They depend on individuals, their self-awareness and what kind of life they want to live.
It is now understood by all that living a compassionate life in a narcissistic society is the key to happiness for all.