Compassion and Why You Need It

If there’s one thing that’s missing in our society’s public dialogue right now, it’s compassion. People on all sides of the political spectrum are shouting and wailing about what “the other guy” is up to and how to stop it. We live steeped in this culture of blame that the patriarchy has fostered.

There are ways that blame. A lack of compassion seeps into your personal life as well, particularly in the privacy of your own mind. Blame doesn’t feel good and it’s certainly not productive. Before you can reach a place of true kindness and forgiveness though, you need to tap into compassion.

Compassion is like the big sister of kindness. It’s one of the main qualities of the Feminine Divine which, despite how things look on the surface, is on the rise. So, how do you have compassion for people whose actions are negative, harmful or even reprehensible?

I remember just after the tragedy in New York City and Washington, DC on 9/11/01 hearing people blaming and vilifying the terrorists who flew the planes into buildings. Although those actions were certainly wrong, something about that blame didn’t ring true to me.

I thought about it, and looked at the bigger picture. The question that helped me to find compassion for the killers was this: What kind of a horrible, abusive life would you have to have lived to believe that flying a plane into a building was a good choice?

These pilots didn’t start out with the intention to sow destruction. They were born innocent, like any baby, and were then brainwashed and abused to the point where they made these horrible choices. The lineage of abuse probably goes back several generations. I began to find compassion for their suffering as well as those of the victims of their actions. This is true of anyone who causes harm – they didn’t begin that way. The legacy of suffering and blaming others for the things we don’t like about life is long. In order to break that chain, we need to dig deep and find compassion for all beings.

Sometimes it can be hardest to find compassion for yourself. The kindest, most understanding people I know are often cruel and unforgiving of their own flaws and perceived failings. Just as you might do with a terrorist or murderer whose actions you struggle to understand, you can take a look at a bigger picture for yourself. What were you like as a baby, as a young child? You came into this life an innocent being, full of love and need.

As a child, you were just living your life, doing the best you could with the circumstances you found yourself in, right? Isn’t that exactly what you’re doing now, as an adult? Isn’t it what all of us are doing, truly?

Putting yourself in the shoes of another – or yourself as a child – is a powerful way to step into compassion and release the blame. We are all here on planet Earth doing our best to find our way.

The people in the public eye that we love to hate probably adore their children and grandchildren, believe in causes that are dear to their heart and try to do their best at their work each day. Just like you.

As we build a new society based on the values we cherish most, compassion is an essential ally. Blame will just generate more division. Fighting against what you don’t want brings more of it into play.

When you find true compassion for all the beings in your life (including yourself) your awareness will expand and new solutions will present themselves. You’ll be able to serve those in need while gently dismantling the underlying false beliefs and injustices that created the situation in the first place.

Let’s do this sacred work together.

Nikki Starcat Shields is an author, writing coach and leader of transformational writing retreats. She's also a licensed Pagan priestess. She invites you to a process of unfolding creativity. The world needs your unique wisdom - now is the time to finally take your inspired book idea and bring it forth into the world. Learn more at

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