My thesis statement is showing compassion for oneself and others is the key to flourishing. Flourishing in context with this essay will mean happiness for oneself as well as the benefit of a healthy mind and body. My thoughts and ideas will be an analysis of these readings: Chapter one from A Fearless Heart by Thupten Jinpa, Chapter nine from A Fearless Heart by Thupten Jinpa, Hanson Chapter two and Ricard chapter fourteen.
Wanting to flourish in life is a fairly universal goal, everyone wants to know the formula as to how to produce this lifestyle that can sometimes feel unacheivable. Now before I go into talking about how showing compassion for oneself and others is the key to flourishing we need to understand compassion. We first start off with empathy, we can relate to the pain someone is feeling but not actually feel the pain ourselves, with this comes compassion.(A Fearless Heart Chapter 1, pp.8). Compassion is a natural emotion that can be used to comfort oneself or another person possibly by attempting to help take the pain away.
Compassion is similar to a muscle in the way that you must work at it for it to become better. We benefit greatly from showing and receiving compassion as humans we yearn to feel loved and valued. Being compassionate can give us purpose. When we aid someone else we have a feeling as if that person is somewhat dependent on us, therefore giving us a sense of purpose in our life. If you feel stressed out try being compassionate because compassion allows us to be aware of the things that are making us stressed and it helps us take a step back from the situation. This can help us be less self absorbed which can make us feel uplifted and less worried about what other people think of us. Everyone has felt loneliness and sometimes the feeling is inevitable but having compassion can help reduce the feeling.
Compassion can become a useful remedy for loneliness, it helps us feel connected to the people around us, helping us disband this feeling of isolation.(Chapter 1 A Fearless heart, pp.16-20). It is proven that if loneliness is not treated it can lead to our nervous system and hormonal balance being damaged.(chapter 1 A Fearless Heart, pp.20). We can better our psychological well-beings by participating in doing something as simple as a kind gesture. Compassion is very contagious, by doing a simple act of kindness you can be motivating those around you to help better the world as a whole.(chapter 1 A Fearless Heart, pp.21). During hard times of suffering it is important to remain patient and compassion will resolve the issue.
Compassion can help us in many ways as shown in the paragraph above but it can also help with our suffering. Suffering is a bump in the road when trying to achieve flourishing. Suffering can be detrimental to our well-beings. Self-compassion is what helps better our suffering.(Chapter 2, Hanson) When we are able to understand the causes of our suffering we can then show compassion for ourselves being understanding that we are suffering. As human beings we have evolved to aid ourselves in passing on our genes, these methods used for survival are: creating boundaries that separates us from the environment causing us to feel isolated, preserving a healthy balance physically and mentally and attracting opportunities and staying away from things that we find hazardous.(Chapter 2, Hanson ).
Unfortunately these methods for survival are constantly under fire which can lead to suffering. This leads us into one of the keys to flourishing, self-compassion. Just like when you show compassion towards others when you see them suffering you need to be as willing to do so for yourself. We can cultivate a more resilient life for ourselves by showing self-compassion.(Chapter 2, Hanson). To help aid us on to a path of self-compassion we must think of someone we feel strongly about allow that initial compassion allow it to stimulate its neural underpinnings allowing our mind and body to be more open for self-compassion. With that we should also send out good vibes for ourselves and be open for receiving the compassion. (chapter 2, Hanson). With this you can overcome your suffering and get back on the path to flourishing.
When we think of being healthy we foresee only the body benefits but sometimes we forget about our minds, there needs to be a healthy balance between these two to create a happy life. A compassionate human being is more likely to live a resilient life and we can strengthen our compassion capabilities through compassion training.( Chapter 9 A Fearless Heart, pp.183) Compassion training allows us to build and better the relationships with the people around us because we are constantly appreciating those around us. Compassion training is all about growth as our capacity for compassion continues to grow. With compassion training we want to obtain a healthy balance between the two extremes of obsessive care giving and and excessive self- preoccupation.(Chapter 9 A Fearless Heart, pp.190) Compassion training also allows us to regulate our emotions healthily because it has been linked that the lack of emotional regulation can lead to unhappiness. (Chapter 9 A Fearless Heart, pp.190 ). It was proven that emotional suppression is linked to how much compassion training the participants did. (Chapter 9 A Fearless Heart, pp.191). With this we can create a healthy mind because a healthy mind equals a happy life.
When speaking of flourishing it involves the environment around such as the people around us because we cannot thrive in an environment that is unhealthy. Altruistically we are able to help those around us which can sometimes invoke us to be harmed.(Ricard, pp.154). It is proven that altruistic people that work in a group to help one another can be beneficial towards their society and even the individuals themselves. (Ricard, pp.154). Selfish people in a society harm the society as a whole because the people can no longer function together creating an isolated feeling for those individuals but by showing compassion we can help ourselves get rid of that self absorbed trait.(Ricard,pp.169). When we are surrounded by love it makes us feel happy and more open to reciprocate and receive it.
Showing compassion and receiving compassion is proven to helping individuals flourish. As human beings there are many beneficial aspects to our mental and physical state from being kind to ourselves and those around us. We can create a better community for ourselves by being cooperative and empathetic with those around us creating a more compassionate environment for ourselves. Through compassion training we can grow our abilities to show compassion allowing us to be more open to showing compassion creating an easy way to be happy. We can be so focused on the hiccups in the rode that make us suffer but showing compassion for oneself and other can allow us to understand our suffering and to help assess the situation and figure out how to help ourselves.
Research concludes that showing compassion to other makes us feel happy because we are rushed with endorphins that simulate a sort of high.(Chapter 1 A Fearless Heart, pp.15). With this we can better ourselves by helping others but we cannot forget about self-compassion, which we need to help maintain a healthy mind. Self-compassion for ourselves is as important as showing compassion to other because if you cannot show compassion for yourself how are you going to be able to show compassion to those around you. Compassion can help you have a more optimistic outlook on life because you are not so focused on the bad things that happen because you are able to relieve those destructive feelings.
With compassion we can improve our lives and the lives of those around us allowing us to flourish. Compassion for ourselves and others can become an easy habit that can turn your life around for the better. The key to flourishing is a simple change there are no hardships involved. Showing kindness and lending a helping hand can illuminate a light of happiness into your life.