Compassion: The forgotten basic need

The modern world is laden with multiple pathways of information flow and short attention span that urges modern day humans to multitask or spend excessive energy on various things simultaneously or successively. Climbing the capitalist ladder and gaining power within the noise of the world, is often considered as the measure of success and growth, but what happens to the heart? Within the humdrum of our lives how can we still be attentive to the most basic human need—Compassion.

Compassion comes from the latin word com, “with, together” and pati “to suffer”. The act of compassion means to feel sorrow or deep tenderness towards one who is suffering or experiencing misfortune. It is often believed that giving back to society and the underprivileged is limited to material goods or monetary contribution, but it is often forgotten that giving compassion is also an equally important contribution to the
underprivileged. The act of listening, comforting and providing a safe space for emotions to be heard and felt is a basic need as well.

Most underprivileged children come from dysfunctional families which causes trauma and deeply impacts their mental well-being, and adds on to the generational cycle of developing into dysfunctional adults. For these children, compassion and the feeling of being valued, cared for and heard goes a long way. In the big wheel of life, to know that someone still cares can not only ease their suffering but also help them build a sense of value, self-esteem and love. It can contribute in helping them become better and responsible adults that respond positively to society.

There are many ways in which compassion can be offered, whether through giving space for them to voice their struggles, offering a listening ear that can give comfort or sponsoring a child and participating in programmes that offer emotional support to these children. Underestimating the power of human connection and love is a folly we cannot afford to fall under. Treating them with kindness and tenderness can help encourage their motivation, inspiration, creativity and agency for self-development in a world that overlooks the power of compassion as a basic need for healthy growth into strong, capable and inspired adults.

Let’s take a pledge to untangle ourselves from the noise within and outside us, and offer a helping hand and an attentive ear to comfort their tender hearts and empower the potential that thrives within them.