Without compassion, one has no antidote to blame and upset with others and oneself. Compassion is not only a source of relating well to others, but it is an essential for emotional well-being. You cannot be happy without understanding and developing it.
See especially "what to say to yourself when viewing another human being, in the Compassion, For Me, Is... section, below.
Deep awareness of a human being's suffering coupled with the wish to relieve it.
It can be confused with pity, but it is not that, as it has a deeper understanding and seeing than it takes to feel pity.
Compassion for others contains an element of empathy, going behind the eyes of the other and imagining what it feels like. It comes from the word "compass", so it implies seeing the direction, the positioning of the suffering of a human being.
ON THE PATH TO HAPPINESS AND GOOD RELATIONSHIPS
Buddha saw it as part of the pathway to non-suffering (to happiness). In fact, he saw it as the purpose of life to help relieve the suffering of others.
You really can't get to good relationships without having compassion for others.
And you can't get to happiness without compassion for yourself.
With true compassion, you don't resent or blame. Learn what those are and how not to suck yourself into the low level thinking behind them.
GETTING "THE VIEWPOINT
COMPASSION, FOR ME, IS...
Whenever I encounter anyone, I know that each person has had some sort of human struggle and that they are all trying to get to happiness for themselves. I know they have conflicts and misunderstandings of what to do and how to live life.
And I know, as me, each of them is simply doing the best he/she can at the time, given the current limits of their awareness. It is impossible to do better than what they know, so I don't expect it. Each is a product of their upbringing, society's input, some things they tried to devise on their own (often as a child), their education, and who is around them (one's peers are a huge influence). They cannot know what is outside of what they have been exposed to, so they can do no better. I blame nobody, I make nobody wrong, for they are all doing the best they can. I understand them and I accept them, even if I don't condone their behavior, their results, or what they say - they have the right to say it, and it is just as expression of what they know. (See also: Your Path Is Your Only Path Attainable, Unless....)
I bless each one of them in their journey to survive as best they can and I wish each one as much happiness as they can possibly garner. [And this applies to ALL people, even those who seem beyond the pale...]
THE COMPASSIONATE VIEWPOINT - IN A STATEMENT
Everybody does the best they can at the time, given the current limits of their awareness. They are not to be expected to or to be blamed for not doing better than their best. They have simply learned what they have learned and are missing a piece of what it takes to do anything more. None of it is personal.
(And this includes me, as a person who is more than worthy of compassion!)
Steven Stosny, PhD - Excellent articles (google his name) and his website CompassionPower provide an excellent further grounding in this and related topics. I like his article on Guilt Vs. Responsibility, as it makes clear some of what we are doing that is the opposite of compassion and responsibility.
SOME INSIGHTFUL QUOTES
"Not one of God's children can be evil. At worst, he or she is hurt. At worst, he or she attacks others, and blames them for their pain. But, they are not evil.
Yes, your compassion must go this deep. There is no human being who does not deserve your forgiveness. There is no human being who does not deserve your love."
American Author and Inspirational Speaker
"Rest assured that, generally speaking, others are acting in exactly the same manner that you would under exactly the same circumstances. Hence, be kind, understanding, empathetic, compassionate, and loving."
Gary W. Fenchuk
Kindness Quotes Mr. Fenchuk's Books