Compassion is hailed as one of the most inspiring and loving emotions we as humans can feel for ourselves and others. Compassion literally means to “suffer together” and inspires us to solve problems, relieve the pain and suffering of others, and be kinder and more understanding with others as well. We can also apply this emotion to ourselves when we’re struggling to cope with emotional or physical challenges.

Despite its ability to positively affect so many aspects of our lives, compassion often takes a back seat to judgement, criticism, shaming, and blaming. Many of our first instincts when confronted with the conditions of others or ourselves is to judge them harshly. Yet when we replace compassion with shaming and blaming, we also project those same judgements onto our own sources of misery and suffering. Then when we face similar challenges, we are less resilient and capable of rising up again, heavy under the burden of our own pride, shame, and unkindness.

That’s why making it a point to cultivate compassion in our daily lives is so important. Through meditation, we begin to make compassion an integral part of our thought processes. Slowly over time, we will start to view the actions and behaviors of others with more understanding, empathy, and a sense of camaraderie. We are then able to approach ourselves with the same compassion and unleash one of our greatest sources of love.