We all see suffering around us, whether it is the inhumane treatment of migrants or minority groups, or any depressing news of diseases, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed.
As the number of people needing help reaches epic proportions, it becomes less likely for us to initiate any help. This paradox is known as the compassion collapse and is a feeling of jadedness mixed with helplessness to the enormity of the situation.
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Tragic stories and imagery make us sympathetic and wanting to help.
But a recent study reveals that the feeling of sympathy is not proportional to the help given by the person. A desire to help, or to contribute is more valuable for any tangible or fruitful result.
Feelings of sympathy do not necessarily lead to any action to end the suffering - they may cause a feeling of helplessness.
When people have the first-hand experience of pain and suffering, the desire to help arises from deep within, as they know the intricate details, and are motivated to help others who are in peril. This is called the Altruism born of suffering.
People who haven't experienced similar hardships themselves will find it hard to relate to others suffering. However, the desire to help can be invoked by showing them the effectiveness of the method, as well as the larger picture.
Meditation also makes our compassion more effective.
Chronic psychosocial stress that’s common in people suffering from burnout can impair personal and social functioning as well as overwhelming your cognitive skills and neuroendocrine systems.
Over time the effects of burnout can lead to memory, attention, and emotional problems.