What causes us to have more compassion in one situation over another?
I’ve been thinking a lot about it the last few days. It came about at the ranch I’m sitting at with 120 alpacas, 2 guard dogs, 1 African Gray, and 1 barn cat. I’ve grown very fond of the barn cat. I am drawn to the animals that seem to know I won’t harm them. I have more than a few favorite alpacas as well. If they show trust for me, I fall head over for them.
This cat loves to play on the hay bales as I’m trying to get them into the bag. A bale fell over and landed on her (the owners tell me there have been many near misses.) She scurried out faster than I could move 100 pounds off her but she hurt her leg or paw in the process. She limped off away from me and kept away no matter how hard I tried to see her. Eventually, I stayed put, and she hobbled over to me. I gathered her in my arms and just cried apologizing over and over.
She improved as the day progressed, but I fretted all day about that. Each visit to the barn, I would check her leg and how she moved on it. I babied her, watched her climb around and by the end of the day, she was climbing on the hay bale stack again.
So is it compassion that I feel? Dictionary.com says this:
“a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.”
I believe this statement to be true in the above situation. However, I have always felt that I had compassion to feel for her and other animals or people in the manner I do.
I don’t believe it’s “sympathy and sorrow” when people think of compassion towards another. I believe a “strong desire to alleviate the suffering” is where we tend to go. Can’t that happen without sympathy or sorrow?
I’m curious about your thoughts on compassion. Do you have a strong desire to alleviate suffering without feeling sympathy or sorrow? Please comment below.
Thanks for reading.