Compassion Is Not Only a Noun – #1000 Speak

The dictionary defines compassion as a noun, sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. While I agree that compassion is fellow feeling, concern, kindness, humanity, tenderness, mercy, and love, I don’t take to the word pity.

While the general emotions are, in fact, nouns I tend to believe that the word compassion is also a verb.

To pity is to feel sorry for.

Compassion is doing something about it.

Compassion is an act. It is going out of your way, or maybe not so far out at all, to help another human being who is suffering emotionally, spiritually, or physically.

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. ~ Dalai Lama

Identifying with another person is an essential process for human beings.  If you translate compassion literally, it means “to suffer together.” It is a process. When you can feel empathy for a person in a difficult time are you not more motivated to do something in an effort to make things better? You feel this person’s pain. Perhaps the situation is different, but you know from experience the emotional turmoil and suffering beneath and you want to DO SOMETHING.

In this doing of something to right the wrong you not only make the much needed human connection but you enlighten and improve not only the life of someone else, but your own as well.

Acts of compassion do not need to move mountains. It can be as simple as a look to a mother with a difficult child that doesn’t show aggravation or pity. You offer her understanding and tell her it’s okay. In that moment you have offered her strength and motivation. You have offered yourself the opportunity to make the world a better place in that small time and space.

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them. ~ Dalai Lama

Imagine if everyone committed to one small act of unsolicited and unconditional compassion:

  • running an errand for a sick friend
  • holding the hand of an elderly person who is ill
  • listening to a co-worker who recently lost a loved on
  • offering the use of your cell phone to a stranded stranger
  • helping the person in the grocery line without quite enough money

These are actions within the realm of possibility every single day for someone, somewhere. Add all of these together and these tiny moments become momentous. Huge. Life changing.

For all of us.

Do not turn away. Do not close your eyes to an opportunity to reach out and make the world a better place, in even the smallest way, for another person. In taking that measure, you not only improve the life of another, but your own as well.

Which brings me to what may be the hardest compassionate steps to take. Compassion toward our selves.

Have you spent your life being told you are not good enough? Not smart enough? Not thin enough? Not pretty enough?

I call bullshit.

We are all good enough.

We are all smart enough.

We are all beautiful.

Speak to yourself the way you would speak to someone else feeling the same hurt. This can break the pattern of pain and change everything.

I read a quote a while back that said “Without suffering there would be no compassion.”

In a perfect world.

But we need to be realistic. This is, and likely always will be, an imperfect world. There will be suffering.

So let there be compassion.

Listen with intention. Support and understand the best you can. In those moments, see a life change. Feel your heart change. This is compassion.
This is love.

~Sandy Ramsey

1000 speak

This post is just a small part of a movement to bring compassion to light. This is the way we prefer to break the internet. To read more beautiful, powerful words from some incredible writers please click the picture above, share some of these posts, and become part of #1000Speak.




photo credit: 365::47 – poetry in my life via photopin (license)

53 thoughts on “Compassion Is Not Only a Noun – #1000 Speak”


    And I LOVE the Dalai Lama! He’s an inspired chap. What great quotes you found 😀

    Fabulous post. I couldn’t be more in agreement that pity sucks, and compassion is far better than any ‘feeling sorry for’ which goes nowhere.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, my friend. Wondered if you’d catch that last part. I hadn’t written one word this morning and then I read your post. Then I started thinking about other stories I had read or heard over the week and started writing. BOOM.
      I find inspiration in the Dalai Lama. An inspired chap indeed! That last quote, though? Right outta my own brain if you can believe that!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can indeed. Your brain is wonderful and creative and clever, my DA. *HUGS* Glad you found inspiration and were able to write about this in such a clear and coherent manner. Not bad AT ALL for someone with writer’s block 😉


  2. I used to know a Methodist minister who compared our hearts to a water tank. If the tank is full of love (the kind that people give us), then we have a well of love to draw on for others. If the tank is empty, what have we got to give?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am starting to freak out just a little cause the time is short to write my post for compassion…and I got zip. sighs… today is the day… I shall commit to trying to pull the words out. eeek. Lovely post really. I try to do little things all the time to make life better for others and in turn it does make it better for me as well. Paying it forward and rolling with it have become staples in my daily life. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I spent so much time reading and trying to share (and I’m still not done!) that I’m just now getting to comments. I have read your post, though, and it was wonderful. I find it lovely that you wrote about one of those little things. I am sure that to the woman on the receiving end your small act of compassion was huge.


    1. I believe that is an absolute truth. People often think of doing good or showing love and compassion as a giganitic gesture. It doesn’t have to be. The person receiving this gift thinks that the smallest act is just that, and that is all that matters.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ve been one step ahead of me all month. I’ve been struggling with pity being a synonym (in some sources) for compassion for some time. To me, they are NOT the same. Pity sounds too much like looking down on another person, whereas to me, compassion must involve a fellow feeling, a recognition of shared humanity. Wonderful post, as always, Sandy. What a gift you are!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You made me laugh, Sarah! Great minds though…
      Your post was outstanding. I loved it so much. I feel so grateful to be surrounded by such incredible people, you among them, Sarah. Thank you!


  5. I am so looking forward to spending my weekend reading these posts…I loved yours, sister…very inspiring.

    I am a cranky person, but I like to think I’m compassionate. I help people when I can, I always have..but maybe..I’d be less cranky if I developed the compassionate part of me a little more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Man, it took me a long time to get to these comments. I’m still reading posts from the weekend. They just keep coming. It was amazing!
      Are you cranky? I don’t think so and I also don’t think you give yourself enough credit. But, hey, we can all improve at compassion. I’m sure very few of us get it right all of the time.


    1. Thank you! I am so happy to have run into you through these posts. I have been spending some time on your blog and am looking forward to more.
      In this one comment, you completely summed up my every thought in this post!


  6. Sandy, this is my first compassion piece of the day, and what a great start to pulling at my heartstrings. I almost wrote myself that compassion is more than a noun, and the really wonderful thing about hearing this from you is that you really exhibit it every day. In all of your interactions with me and with other people, I see your compassion. You practice what you preach, and I admire that so much. Well written as always, Sandy. Love you to the moon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, thank you for starting with me and I’m sorry it has taken me forever to reply. I appreciate this comment so much. I am my own worst critic and often wonder if I do enough, if I’m getting this life thing right. So to have you say something this meaningful to me is such a wonderful thing. I find you to be one of the most compassionate and kind people I have met and I’m so very glad to call you my friend.


  7. “pity this busy monster manunkind not…” Most times people don’t want or need your pity. Sometimes they don’t deserve it. But we can treat even the most unworthy with compassion, and that is a CHOICE. And it’s a difficult one sometimes, because we as humans, often take pleasure in either seeing people “get what they deserve” or else judge people, assuming that they must have done it to themselves — as if that absolves us from our responsibility to our fellow person. I’m always reminded of how Marley’s ghost responds to Scrooge when Ebeneezer tells him that he was always a good man of business. “Mankind was my business!” he screams. “Charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know many people who want pity but there are some. Most appreciate empathy. Nobody wants to feel alone. I would agree that compassion is definitely a choice.
      I have to make mention of the fact that I don’t believe I have ever met anyone in my life who can find a quote from music or literature for every situation. That is a gift, my friend, and I love it!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love the quotes by His Holiness, but I love this even more: “Listen with intention. Support and understand the best you can.” This is what we need more of- real advice, real ways to make compassion a verb. You are a great example for anyone trying to practice compassion. I’m so glad you decided to come back to blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jen! I was putting the Dalai Lama quotes in the post and threw thought I’d try my hand at it. I would never pretend to possess the wisdom of His Holiness but I don’t think I did too bad! I often hear words from everyday ‘regular’ people that have an affect on my life so I, too, am a fan of real advice. I’m glad to have made it back and am loving the new voice I have found in this new place. I’m happy you decided to come along for the ride….again!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The Dalai Lama has a world heart and so do you. The quote from Sandy Ramsey is thought provoking and honest. It is so wonderful to practice compassion,not pity, in dealing with others (strangers and people you know) and with ourselves

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is so wonderful.

    Self compassion seems nearly impossible but when I see it in others and I see how well it balances out their heart it makes me want to really try.

    I don’t like the word pity either. When I read it the first time in one of my guests posts I cringed and then I had to look it up so others could see it meant something a bit different than what it triggers in my mind.

    I still won’t use it…it feels like such a sad and helpless word…

    I love this and you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Self compassion is, by far, the most difficult. It’s important though. It’s a little like the oxygen on the airplane. You need to put the mask on yourself before you help others with theirs. Honestly, that would never occur to me if someone didn’t tell me that’s the way to do it.
      I don’t care for the word pity in the way that it is used most frequently. It just reeks of negativity. I might have to look it up to see if I can see it in a different light. But I, like you, prefer not to use it.
      Thank you for the love! I hope you know it is returned in massive amounts!


  11. Loved this post!!

    “These are actions within the realm of possibility every single day for someone, somewhere. Add all of these together and these tiny moments become momentous. Huge. Life changing.” – I couldn’t agree more! Just perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Beautiful, Sandy! “listening with intention” is so key. Such a simple thing yet so hard to do. I recently had someone pay for our Chick Fil A order at the drive thru. It was late (after swim) and there was no one behind me to pay it forward. But it was such a good feeling, just knowing that someone was putting some good out there. Come to think of it, I’ve been meaning to do that. To pay for someone’s order… this weekend I’m doing it! Thank you for reminding me / inspiring me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I so love the idea of paying it forward! I mean, I REALLY love it! I don’t do it often enough. I know it must have been a wonderful surprise for you and I am sure you will find a way to make it happen. Those are the things, the little things that are so HUGE!


  13. Brilliant post! You really hit the nail on the head!

    Small actions can have big effects. Just sharing someone else’s pain for a moment can ease the burden for them, because they realize someone else gets it, someone else cares. I love your suggestions on how to battle the suffering of the world with compassion for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sandy this is perfect. Why oh why is it so much easier to buy the person in front of us groceries but it’s so dang hard to realize that we are beautiful and important whether our pants are too tight or the whatevers that make us feel unworthy and less than? Thank you for this reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thanks for sharing this. I am having a very busy day reading compassion posts and loving it. The trouble is that it’s now Saturday and family time. I like was you say about listening. Our world definitely lacks people we can talk to who’ll actively listen and love us in this way. I wrote a humorous piece about the compassion fatigue I experienced trying to pick a topic.
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m with you and call bullshit, too. We can spend our days saying we feel or act the way we do because someone wasn’t kind to us – and it may be very very true. Those things hurt and harm and cut very deeply. They are valid feelings. But the only way to stop it is to do what you said – speak to ourselves, treat ourselves, the way we want to be treated, the way we would treat others. It’s a cycle and it can be broken – the smallest acts can do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m seeeing so many Dalai Lama quotes that I’ve never read before. Wow. Now I want the Dalai Lama book. I am sure there’s such a thing. These post have been such eye openers. Thank you for your insight and adding another notch to my compassion belt.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. This is awesome. I love how you write a beautiful word poem, and throw some reality at us with “I call bullshit.” THAT is the kind of poetry I can relate to. I know this probably wasn’t intended as poetry, but you have such an eloquent way with words, Sandy. You’re beautiful inside and out!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. You stole my thoughts with this!!! It’s like you were in my head. Compassion should be a lifestyle, something you just do without thought just as you breath. Without looking for recognition for doing so. Beautiful job in this piece!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. It’s all about the effort. I think so many times we’re afraid of doing the wrong thing, so we do nothing. There’s nothing wrong with saying to someone hurting, “I don’t know what to do, but I sure wish I did.” Action, action, action. Just knowing someone else feels your pain enough to acknowledge is a big deal indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. “But we need to be realistic. This is, and likely always will be, an imperfect world. There will be suffering. So let there be compassion.” And with that you have summed up for generations the way to live, hopefully in harmony. True, pity, somehow divides the action from the intent. Compassion does not come in the way, but it can surely hold your hand through the journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. My favourite part of your post is this quote from the Dalai Lama: “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” Nice find! It sort of goes along with “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” and to that I would add, “but do try and find something nice to say!”


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