Compassion is the emotion of being deeply moved by the distress of another coupled with the desire to relieve that person’s suffering. The word compassion is derived from the Latin words com (together) and pati (to suffer) and means “co-suffering” or “to suffer with.” The compassionate person observes and then participates in the suffering. Compassion, although in the family of emotional concern for others, is a distinct emotion with subtle differences from other similar feelings.

Compassion differs from empathy (understanding and sharing the feelings of others) and sympathy (feelings of sorrow for another’s misfortune) because it requires action beyond the feeling. Compassion is more than altruism (promotion of the welfare of others even at risk to self) because compassion is accompanied by a deep awareness of ...

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