The more we do something, the better we get at it. Our brains don't really know the difference between playing more guitar then becoming a better musician and practicing judgments and getting better at being judgmental. It only knows that when we practice something, we lay down new neuropathways and we improve that skill. Our brains do not discriminate: we get better at doing things that are better or worse for us the more we practice them. It is not surprising, then, that thinking and acting in a compassionate manner will inherently increase our compassionate thoughts and behaviors.
What is compassion and why does it matter?
While practicing compassion will certainly wire our brain to think and act with more kindness, we are also helped by the fact that the brain is wired toward compassion and we are more susceptible to learning and behaving compassionately. In short, human compassion is instinctual. Being compassionate is a simple four step process. A person recognizes suffering, is instinctively drawn to experience care and concern, generates the desire to relieve the person’s suffering and has a willingness to respond. A practiced, compassionate individual will find it much more natural to generate the desire to relieve suffering and have an increased willingness to respond to help someone who is hurting.