Thomas G. Plante Ph.D., ABPP

Do the Right Thing

Can You Teach Compassion?

We all want to be treated with compassion, but can we be compassionate too?

Posted Jan 22, 2014

Certainly we’d all like to live in a more compassionate world, wouldn’t we? With so much pain, suffering, and distress out there who wouldn’t want to live in a world where everyone is treated with great compassion as well as concern, care, and respect? We would likely all welcome compassionate behavior directed towards us but maybe we don’t always act in a compassionate way towards others. Do you typically act towards others as you wish others would act towards you?

Of course many people can behave with compassion in some circumstances yet also behave without evidence of compassion in other circumstances. Compassionate behavior (like all human behavior) is complex in that often people act very differently under different circumstances. Additionally, we are all susceptible to “compassion fatigue” in that one can be overwhelmed by the needs and troubles of others to the point of becoming numb to suffering. For example, you may read the daily news that report so many horrors in the world without reacting with much emotion or concern since you get so used to these reports.

So, what do you think?

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Copyright 2014 by Thomas G. Plante, PhD, ABPP