Lovingkindness is wishing happiness for another.
Compassion is wishing for another to be free from suffering.
When we ourselves are suffering and feel the urge to help ourselves, we are experiencing self-compassion.
— Christopher Germer
The differences in the concepts may seem subtle, but all are very powerful practices, and integral to Mindfulness-Informed Psychotherapy.
In the Lovingkindness practice we generate, or “send” wishes of happiness, safety, health and peace to ourselves, to those we love and care about, to people that we barely know, to those with whom we have difficulty, and to all persons everywhere.
Compassion is a more active practice that includes wanting others to be free from suffering. Compassion may lead to an action that alleviates another’s suffering. Compassion is not pity, nor is it driven by pity.
Self-Compassion is a very important element of Mindfulness-Informed Psychotherapy. When cultivated and practiced, Mindful Self-Compassion can begin to free us from the self-depreciating, cruel –even lacerating– automatically arising negative thoughts that ensnare us in depression and anxiety.
Mindful Self-Compassion is an act of self-care and self-nourishment.
And as we allow ourselves to develop and wrap ourselves in Mindful Self-Compassion when we need it, we are far more able to be present and loving with others.
“In the deserts of the heart let the healing fountain start…”
–In Memory of W.B.Yeats, by W. H Aude