“Rather, genuine compassion is based on the rationale that all human beings have an innate desire to be happy and overcome suffering, just like myself. And, just like myself, they have the natural right to fulfill this fundamental aspiration.”
― Dalai Lama XIV, The Art of Happiness
I have a few people around me (and I’m sure you do too) who call themselves compassionate… or actually, make sure that others call them compassionate. They always seem to be there for others in times of hardships, they always seem to forget about themselves to help others… and they make sure the whole world knows about it. These people, I have come to realize, are faking it.
You know who I am talking about. They are the ones that everyone else calls “so nice” and “so helpful,” yet they never seem to be around for you unless they can post it on Facebook or Instagram. They have a million “friends” and they are always busy helping so and so through a breakup or a difficult financial situation. But if you look closely, they never actually do anything concrete to help. They just like to get involved in the drama. That is not what compassion is.
Compassion comes from the need to relieve others of their pain. It comes from wanting others to be happy, sincerely. Most importantly: it starts with your own happiness. When we realize that we have the ability to be truly happy, and when we are on the right path, only then can we truly help others because our actions come from a good place. When fake compassionate people “help” others, they expect praise or public gratitude. When compassion comes from a real place of love and happiness, we do not need social gratitude for our actions. Gratitude stops to matter.
I am still working on reading the Art of Happiness, and a passage on compassion (part II of the book) really hit me upside the head. Realistically, how many of us have called someone ungrateful? How many of us have gone to the rescue of someone else because it was “the right thing to do” but in fact we couldn’t have cared less? We’re all guilty.
This passage makes so much sense. Happiness comes from within and can be spread. In order to make other people around us, we have to be truly happy – otherwise our actions do not come from an honest place.