the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Compassion is not the same as empathy or altruism, though the concepts are related. While empathy refers more generally to our ability to take the perspective of and feel the emotions of another person, compassion is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help.
Ok so I don't have much of neither of those, at times. I say at times, because there are times when I will do lots to help others, but not necessarily do I understand or share their feelings.
When I think back to situations/conversations with my FIL lately, it's not pretty. He tries my patience in many different ways. I tried to be nice, to explain, to pamper, to explain again, to help, to do for him. I see that my efforts are kind of expected and that doesn't sit well with me. I made a conscious decision years ago not to have a child; it is a responsibility for life that I didn't want, and I didn't want to love someone that much. I didn't know (or even trust) if I could show/have that "unconditional" love. I guess deep down I knew already that blood isn't thicker than water... Giving birth (or sperm) to someone doesn't make it so that you will love or even like that person. It's not that automagic... I don't think it is, anyway.
At times, I see people who are such a close-knit family and think is it because they love each other or because they have something in common? Why are we that different from the animals, is it because we lost our instinct? Is it because we can think? (not that many people do, really, but hey, that is what science say). I would have to look into this, but do animals take care of their parents? I don't think so... The parents let their kids go fairly early on, and are they worst off for it? I don't think so. We, as human, do everything for our kids, and some parents do a shit load for their kids. Are we better off for it? I don't think so neither...
I think the one big thing that differs between humans parents and animal ones, is the guilt aspect. Do animals play the guilt card on their young ones? I don't know, but I do know that humans do, on many levels and for whatever reason.
Are we showing affection, love, care, compassion, empathy because we can think or because we care to do so? Are any of those feelings part of us as people, or we learn them, pick them up along the way?
What do you think?