Compassion and Performance

Part 1: Life is tough

No one is immune from the trials life brings. Life-experience shapes our ability to give and receive compassion. The greatest health concern right now should be the levels of stress and anxiety, which run through our homes, schools, businesses and communities. We are under relentless judgement from ourselves and others as to whether or not we are performing adequately.

Society ingrains in us the notion that we need to develop specific characteristics, which will enable success. We begin to see difficulties and hurdles as threats to our safety, security and happiness and consequently, respond by taking a combative approach to life. The reality is that this approach is unsustainable. It may bring short term success but it takes far too much energy to maintain. Generally, people will only perpetuate this antagonism for as long as they anticipate some sort of success or reward. In other words, the end justifies the means. The effects, however, are evident in the growing mental health epidemic.

If we only view performance as a binary system of winning or losing then we create our own collective suffering.

There is another way – a way in which we can alleviate and prevent suffering: Compassion.

In the next parts, I will go into more detail on the aspects of compassion – attention, thinking, feeling and behaviour as we offer an alternative approach to performance.

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