One of Mahatma Gandhi’s ideologies were about “pity and compassion”. He said that we should not show pity but should be compassionate instead.

Nowadays, I have noticed people living in self-denial of not understanding the difference between sympathy and empathy well. So, by the end of this blog, I hope you find the answers that you are seeking.

What is it?

Pity refers to a state when you feel sorrow for the misfortunes of others. It has many other well- known synonyms like condolence, sympathy, consolidation, concern etc. Whereas, compassion refers to an active attempt to alleviate the sufferings of others. Some of its synonyms that we use on daily basis are empathy, understanding, benevolence etc.

According to psychology, these are wide areas of study that still need exploration and for those who fail to understand feelings a lot of times, it’s okay bro! It’s not rocket science. Few people are blessed with the ability to understand feelings completely.

Let’s take an example. We often see kids begging for money on metro stations. Now, if someone gives them money or even buy something for them to eat, he did that out of pity because he couldn’t see them in pain. On the other hand, if he tells them about how they can use education, associate them with some NGO’s or get them admitted in Govt. schools, he has made their future secure, this you did out of compassion. You felt sorry for them and did something about it.

Now, in the first case, it isn’t like he didn’t help, he did! But his contribution had little impact on their future, on the other hand, in the second case his help might not change the present but will eventually shape the future of those kids. We have often seen people in movies doing something noble and saying, “ I know what’s it like to live a life like this because I have been through the same.” Well, that what empathy is all about.

Why is it so important?


*spoiler alert*

In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne decides to travel the world to understand criminal minds in order to fight injustice. Reason being anything, unless you won’t empathize with that person, you can’t help him.

Most of the times we can’t comfort our loved ones who are in pain even if we are feeling sorry for them and it bothers us. So, don’t you think something must be done about it? I know this seems quite trivial but compassion can change the way you think and the world around you. Once acquired, you can use this power of compassion to solve a lot of problems in your life.

How to be compassionate?

As I said, it’s not rocket science. Neither I will tell you what and what not to say on a funeral. Instead, I will help you in dealing with emotions your own way.

  • People watch documentaries or read biographies in order to understand what people did in such situations. I don’t really believe in this method. I mean it’s good that they have solutions but they are not from our contemporary world so what worked for them might not work for you today. So, you better create history with your own methods.
  • We are social beings. You often have noticed your friend picking up your dialogues or your behavior and unknowingly using them in their daily lives. No, they didn’t copy you. That’s how we learn! We see and we learn. So, even if nobody taught you, you understand and learn their way of dealing stuff by talking and spending time with them.  It means you can understand people so you are halfway done.
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  • I have seen people not helping others out of competitiveness. This reminds me of a Sanskrit shloka that I read in school. It states that “knowledge is the greatest wealth that can’t be stolen, can’t be taken away, can’t be divided and can’t be a load. It always multiplies.” So, stop holding onto it because your contribution can mean a lot.
  • Another ideology of the father of the Nation that might help is trusteeship. Yeah, sometimes it’s better to be an admin than an owner. It’s good to be proud of something you own but that must not stop you from sharing it with those in need.
  • To do the right thing, it requires a lot of courage. Not many people willingly take responsibilities but just want to get rid of them instead. You can’t control an emotional situation unless you willingly take charge of it. Avoiding emotions just because you don’t want to feel vulnerable is not a solution. This way you are letting your emotions control you because you can’t run away from them forever.
  • Emotions are responsible for connections and detachments. So, if you won’t be there for others in their hardships, expecting people to be there for you in your bad times is just selfishness that will take you nowhere. So know that you can bring harmony to this messy world just by helping people in need.
  • And lastly, know the difference between help and favor. You helped them because you wanted to so don’t expect anything in return. They don’t owe you any favor. Stop making them feel that they are your slave for the rest of their lives.

Now, next time when someone’s heartbroken or has lost a loved one or helplessly crying because of the suffering, or even being tortured, don’t just pity them. Stand for them! If you know them, you know what makes them feel better, so do it. If not, do what you would expect from others for you but make your action count.

Tl;dr

  1. Make your own way.
  2. Know that you can understand.
  3. It’s useless to limit knowledge.
  4. Keep your ego aside.
  5. Conquer your fears.
  6. It’s “give and take” bro.
  7. Dobby is a free elf.


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