In the Family Way

Are human beings wired to

be compassionate?

Some would say that compassion is a touchy feely state of mind not necessary for survival. On the other hand, researchers show that compassion is wired in the human species.

Compassion is more than just empathy. While empathy provides us the ability to feel what others feel and see their perspective, compassion makes us want to alleviate the suffering. Compassion simply compels us to want to help others. Research suggests that compassion has deep evolutionary purpose. The dependence and vulnerability of human babies and children requires a compassionate caregiver to survive. This simple fact not only rearranges our social structures, building cooperative networks to care for our young; it also rearranged our nervous systems wiring, so to speak. We are biologically and neurologically wired to care for the survival

of our species.

Certain parts of your brain light up in response to pain or suffering. But it’s not just your own pain that will cause your brain to react. If you see the pain and sufferings of others, the very same parts of your brain activate. We have the same pain response to others people’s pain as we do to our own experience of pain and suffering. But some of us are seemingly more sensitive than others. While some human beings appears to have healthy compassion wirings in their brain, some are lacking. If compassion is necessary for the survival of human kind, how can we make positive compassion become

more contagious?

Researchers also suggest that positive emotions such as love and compassion spread much more rapidly and collectively that negative emotions such as anger and hate. The giving and the sharing feel good as the reward circuit in the brain is activated by the good deed. More evidence also show that these good feelings promote stronger social networks and even bridge social divisions.

So let’s try to spread compassion daily. Be a more compassionate being that you are wired to be.

Collectively we can be:

• Considerate — Suspend your judgement when you are feeling slighted or the tendency to sit on your high horse. Be equally considerate to all that you encounter in your daily lives. You really do not know what pain and sufferings other people have if you readily judge before you

seek to understand.

• Affectionate — Sometimes, the one who is pushing your angry button is the one who needs your affection the most. Sometimes all that someone really need is a loving touch, a warm hug or an understanding smile. Be genuine.

• Selfless — Easier said than done, you would say. It takes a little more effort to be compassionate and help others in need without expecting something in return. To truly help someone in need, your need becomes secondary or not at all in the equation at that moment of

compassionate action.

• Kind — Try to go out of your way to be kind. Notice your friend, co-worker or a stranger who could use your assistance. A warm coffee to a homeless person, a book for a book lover who can’t afford to buy one, a warm smile to a lonely stranger on the road — the possibilities are endless if we pay attention and commit to be kind. Daily random acts of kindness will fire your happy brain wirings up!

•Love unconditionally — Show and give love freely. The more you give love the more you have it. You experience more love as you give love. It may come later but love begets love. It’s a universal rule with very few exceptions.

• Communicate meaningfully and warmly — Words matter. Cultivate encouraging and optimistic vocabulary when you speak, text, email and use social media. Let your genuine compassionate being show through heartfelt communications.

Life is how we make it. Set your intentions to every day spread some compassion and develop strong social bonds that will contribute to an advancing humankind.

I will certainly try.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.