Source | positivepsychology.com | Heather S. Lonczak, Ph.D.
Compassion is as vital to life as the air we breathe. For in the absence of compassion, how many benevolent, selfless and heroic deeds would have happened throughout history?
Imagine a world without Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., St. Francis of Assisi, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and so many others.
Imagine a world without the countless individuals who risked their own lives to save others during wartime (i.e., the thousands of Holocaust martyrs listed as the Righteous Among Nations). Imagine a world without those who’ve run into burning buildings or executed other heroic feats of rescue during times of trauma. It’s unthinkable.
And what about the concept of compassion in modern everyday life? After all, if this quality has the power to inspire courageous deeds, it must also encourage all sorts of positive behaviors that have both individual and societal benefits.
This article will address these ideas by looking closely at the concept of compassion; such as its meaning, value, psychological and other benefits, and relationship to qualities that promote coping (i.e., resilience).
Empirical research examining the impact and correlates of compassion will also be included. If compassion may be perceived as a requisite for a meaningful existence and civilized society, it is indeed a concept worthy of continued discovery. So, let’s begin our inquiry into this precious quality that is compassion.