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Be compassionate and respectful- Live A Great Life Podcast by Dr Prem – Chapter. 11

Here is a quote – All life deserves respect, dignity, and compassion. All life.

—Anthony Douglas

All of us are born selfish. As infants, we want everyone to please us, we want everything we like, and when we don’t get what we want, we feel sad and start crying. Respect and compassion are two important qualities that we learn as we grow up. It is necessary that we learn them because this is what others want from us, and this is what we ultimately want from others. This is because of something deeply embedded in our psychology, which we cannot change. We feel good when someone is compassionate or respectful to us, and others feel good when we are compassionate or respectful towards them. Mutual respect and compassion are two strong pillars for a healthy and stable relationship.

What exactly do we mean by compassionate and respectful?

Respect and compassion aren’t about how you feel for someone, they are more about how you make others feel. Contrary to the popular opinion, these are qualities of an active individual and not a passive one. We generally confuse respect with admiration, and compassion with empathy. But even though they are related to each other, they are not exactly the same.

Admiration is the feeling you get when you find that someone is superior to you, or someone is better than you in certain ways. Respect, on the other hand, is about making a conspicuous gesture to make someone realize that we admire them. However, we don’t really need to admire someone to be able to respect them. For example, it is considered polite in almost all cultures to respect elders and teachers, whether we admire them or not.

In a similar vein, empathy is about how we feel when we experience the suffering of someone else as our own. Compassion (which literally means ‘suffering together’) is about making others realize that we feel their pain as our own, and we want it to abate as soon as possible. It is in human nature to look for compassion in others. We tell others about our troubles so that we can make the experience a part of our pain, which lightens our burden by assuring us that we are not the only ones suffering.

What if we are neither respectful nor compassionate?

Let us take the example of a ruthless person who doesn’t make their way through kindness, but prefers a strictly logical and practical approach. No doubt, if such a person is successful, others will certainly respect them, and offer them help whenever they need it. However, if such a person is going through tough times, others will most probably desert them. Due to his lack of compassion and respect, such a person always seems distant to others, and unless others see any practical advantage in helping them, they won’t bother. They would prefer maintaining a distance.

How to develop compassion

Nobody is perfect. We all bear deep psychological wounds that mostly date back to our childhood. What we see as an unpleasant tendency in others might have some unknown causes. Many people need motivation or a push to move forward. They are the ones who show positive results and are more productive if we confront them from time to time. Rather than simply declaring the other person ‘dumb’ or ‘stubborn’, you should try making them comfortable and give them an opportunity to talk about the things that are troubling them.

Example of alternative therapies

Despite having little scientific basis, alternative therapies have emerged as one of the most successful medical systems. They have been around for several years, and are still popular. Those who try alternative therapies attribute their success not to the medicines that the doctors prescribe, but to the time that they spend with the patients.

Many of the common illnesses that we suffer from are called ‘self-limiting’. They run their course and resolve themselves within a few days. It is usually the temporary discomfort and restlessness that troubles us. Various alternative therapies, however, have found the perfect solution to this.

By holding sessions that last for hours, sometimes, patients are given the rare opportunity of articulating their pain and sharing it with the doctor. So when the patients are done with the session, they already feel better, and develop trust in the doctor. After that, when the disease resolves itself automatically over time, patients feel that the doctor cured them. The faith thus developed makes the patient a regular at the doctor’s, thereby increasing the popularity of both the doctor and the technique.

Alternative therapies, imbibed with compassion and respect, use a process through which both external and internal healing occurs. This shows how respect and compassion are integral to survival.

Look deeper into the other’s psyche

The example of alternative therapies has shown us that the easiest way of being compassionate to others is by listening to their troubles without passing any judgment. This helps us locate deep psychological troubles that could be the cause of what the other person is suffering from. Once we know the actual reason behind someone’s actions, we can modify our behavior so that we do not do anything to add to their misery.

By simply talking to others and understanding their troubles, we can make an early diagnosis and suggest that they see a counselor. People suffering from mental health disorders are also at a higher risk of suicide, so in many situations, our advice might prove to be a lifesaver.

Be compassionate to yourself first

Self-criticism has become an important part of our lives. Many times, when we fail in an endeavor or a relationship, we blame ourselves for it. Well, it is okay if we do so, as, without self-criticism, we do not learn from our problems and might end up repeating them. However, the same self-criticism in its extremity might turn to self-hatred. It is a tendency particularly pronounced in people suffering from depression. They blame themselves for everything, and sometimes even start thinking that they are so incapable that they don’t deserve to live.

A great psychological antidote to self-hatred is self-compassion. Taking time to relax every day, spending quality time with friends, and practising mindfulness are some of the tried and tested ways of developing self-compassion. On the other hand, having no friends, indulging in substance abuse and living an unhealthy lifestyle are the triggers that encourage self-criticism. Make sure you don’t take things too seriously and give yourself time to consider them. This will give you a clearer picture of things, and you will also find out whether you need any type of assistance with personal matters or not.

Why it is necessary to respect others

No matter what you do, you cannot be perfect at everything. You always have scope to learn. Books and various media have revolutionized learning. But if you want a real picture of things, learning from individual experience is indispensable. Most people are willing to impart their practical knowledge to others. They just want one thing in return – respect. Not paying respect to our teachers or to our elders directly implies that we do not value their advice, and think that our opinion is superior to theirs. Nevertheless, even if it is wrong, the opinion that anyone has formed after years of experience is important. Ignoring it leaves us more prone to making the same mistakes that others have already made and learnt from.

Seek the best in everyone

Being compassionate and respectful is a hard task at first. You might feel compelled to pass judgment and become biased against someone for small, ludicrous reasons. But each time you find yourself rolling your eyes at someone for the way they eat, dress or talk, remind yourself that they too are human, imperfect, and unique, just like you. Try to look through and beyond your biases. Who knows, you might be able to learn a thing or two about life from the very person whom you wanted to initially distance yourself from.

Respect and compassion are not just qualities that we need to inculcate, they are the foundation that holds humanity together. Make it a point to live your life with respect and compassion – not only for others but also for yourself. That’s the only way you will actually learn about yourself and the world around you. That’s the only way to make the world a better place for the present and the future.

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Dr Prem Jagyasi and Team (C)

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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