As a spiritual principle in Alcoholics Anonymous, compassion is a valuable asset to attain. Other members will be from different backgrounds and socioeconomic situations. This is why there are treatment centers from one end of the spectrum to the other, and why it is important to be able to work within groups of people who are very different in outlook, life experience, and beliefs.
What Is Compassion?
Compassion is not the same thing as pity. It is the ability to love and accept someone, while remaining steadfastly at their side. We do not need to join them in their experience, but to stand by them while they have it. We can appreciate the path that they are on, even though it is vastly different than the path we have taken.
Compassion is the bridge that will allow all of us to heal, in our own way, in our own time, with our own concept of a Higher Power. Judgment has no home in compassion. To judge someone else's experience is to deem it better or lesser than our own. This is not the road to compassion. True compassion is difficult to attain. It is a rare commodity in our social environment, but an absolute breath of fresh air when we encounter it.
How Do We Become Compassionate?
To begin to acquire compassion for others, we must first learn to have compassion for ourselves. We must let go of judging who we are, how we are, and what we have done in order to fully accept ourselves. Then we begin to care deeply about the state of our hearts.
As this deepens and grows, we are able to become more fully compassionate of ourselves. We do not condemn ourselves for what we may perceive as shortcomings, mistakes, or perceived flaws. If we are able to achieve this toward ourselves, we are able to utilize this kind of acceptance and love with others.
Compassion brings great responsibility. For when we begin to practice this kind of intense acceptance for ourselves, we begin to accept others more easily. We accept them as human beings who are in process of becoming.
As we grow more and more comfortable with practicing compassion, we become more responsible to those whom we love. This means that we must continue to care more deeply and to judge less harshly every day.