LETTER: When moderation is needed when having compassion

A Ponoka News reader suggests that compassion shouldn’t mean not to take care of oneself

Dear Editor:

The notion of self compassion is not, I believe, part of our inherited cultural tradition.

The term compassion, as I understand it in English, originated from the mid-14th century word ‘compassioun’, literally “suffering with another,” from the old French word ‘compassion’. It also has the connotation of sympathy or pity.

That understanding of both sympathy and pity has a particular association for me, something I believe I inherited as a child of middle class professional parents. That upbringing in part looked at some people as needing more help than others, because they were more vulnerable. The ‘good-doer’ mindset, if you will, set in.

Given those associations self compassion could be associated with self pity or self indulgence.

And yet self compassion, I believe, suggests that the empathy and understanding we offer to others is what we can and should give to ourselves. By tradition or upbringing, selflessness has often been a prized virtue and yet we know that selflessness can be detrimental to both physical and emotional health.

Caregivers and people who assist others can be overwhelmed by the assistance they offer or give. Extreme selflessness is not a virtue. Self compassion does not give the ‘do-gooder’ instinct in us free rein and suggests we moderate our altruism and live a balanced life, recognizing our own needs, giving ourselves a break, freeing ourselves from the harsh internal criticism of always thinking of others first.

George Jason

Just Posted

Ponoka County receives update from energy lobby group

CAPP hopes to work with municipalities on property tax issues

The Brick Learning Centre celebrates 2019 graduates

The “Good Old Days” continue on

Ponoka senior receives first place writing award for her memoirs

Anne Teeuswen, 88, recognized for “Spending Time With My Memories”

Traffic safety measures during the 2019 Ponoka Stampede

Reduced speed limits and temporary four-way stop start June 22

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Late night fight in Wetaskiwin results in aggravated assault, assault with a weapon charges

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate armed robbery and aggravated assault

Maskwacis featured in documentary series that unearths Indigenous cuisine

Red Chef Revival’s host visits community, elders and Nipisihkopahk School

UPDATED: Manderville located, Edwards still missing

Last seen in Ponoka June 22, 2019

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Fighter Jets light up Bucs’ to take AFL first place

38-3 loss puts Central Alberta into second place in the AFL

Most Read