chapter  24
4 Pages

Compassion ¯owing out

There is now increasing evidence that developing compassion for others is highly conducive to well-being (e.g., Frederickson et al., 2008; Lutz et al., 2008). Sometimes people will ®nd this exercise much easier than developing compassion for themselves, but there are some key things to think about here. Sometimes people will develop what looks like compassion but actually it's submissive appeasing, cultivating ``niceness'' or wanting to be nice to be liked. While various elements of this exist in all of us, some individuals lack mentalizing abilities, genuine empathy about what other people really need (as opposed to want), and can ®nd dif®culties in being assertive or putting down boundariesÐa problem sometimes in parenting. A completely different problem arises with people who have unprocessed anger. These individuals ®nd compassion dif®cult, partly because they feel that being a compassionate person means getting rid of anger, it is not compassionate to even feel angerÐrather than that compassion is ®rst and foremost about honesty, tolerating and understanding our feelings.