Pity On None, Compassion For All

AnnieBurnside3 2It is vitally important that we deepen our understanding and outpouring of compassion by first acknowledging a key difference between compassion and pity.

Most of us are taught that pity and compassion are close cousins, if not identical twins.

Whether outwardly stated or not, often the energy behind the healing thoughts, words and actions that we extend toward others in the name of compassion is laced with pity surrounding their unseemly predicament or state of being.

Our assistance is often well-meaning, but usually along with the helping hand, the donor subconsciously doles out an energetic belief that matches the “unfortunate” situation, actually helping to sustain the current energy surrounding the state of affairs.

A true soul to soul perspective, however, is that compassion is not an I can do it for you kinda vibe but rather a YOU can do it for yourself vibe.

In other words, the most healing offering that we can ever freely give to others is to see/feel them as who they really are (Tweet-worthy!) beyond their physical masks and predicament—past their “human suit” and into their true eternal and infinite nature.

It is their highest potential as a self-realized spirit-embodied human being that we hope to ignite through our offerings, not simply a reinforcement of their perceived “stuckness” and misfortune.

It is always the feeling behind the assistance that matters most to initiate true and lasting change in our good works.

Compassion that leads to healing comes through nothing less than a heightened awareness of the other’s divine essence. Acknowledgement of this in our heart and mind, as we offer the warm cup of coffee, the used clothing or the large financial donation is of utmost importance to both the giver and the receiver.

It is the energy exchange that really seals the deal, for upliftment and expanded awareness are truly priceless.

So, give a gift that keeps on giving. Offer compassion to those in “need” sans pity with a powerful punch behind it—an infusion of positive, empowering energy that speaks volumes without opening our mouth.

Really see the individuals before you. Feel their presence. Acknowledge their magnificence as an aspect of infinite divine essence.

For what stands before us, is nothing short of a luminous soul in human form.

We must teach our children the feeling behind loving service—Compassion Unplugged—and make an active healing difference in the lives of those we touch.




A modern bridge between the mainstream and the mystical, Annie Burnside, M.Ed. is a soul nurturer, award-winning author, and teacher specializing in parenting, conscious relationships, authentic living and spiritual development. Her book Soul to Soul Parenting won the 2011 Nautilus Silver Book Award. Connect with Annie on Facebook and engage with her on Twitter.

  • Mike Vecchio

    What I love abut your blogs is that you state the most important and forwarding aspects of human interactions! Recognizing the divinity in others, no matter what the situation, is a great starting place. For me it is always about the person rather than the “situation”. The situation is only a manifestation of what a given individual is living through.

    • Annie Burnside

      Thank you, Mike! Love your last line… Much LOVE, Annie

    • The Daily Love

      So true… We must always see the light within every person! -TDL Team

  • David H. Breaux

    Hi Annie,

    I offer gratitude for sharing your thoughts and wisdom on the difference between pity and compassion. I was immediately drawn to read your blog once I saw the word compassion in the title.

    Since June 3rd, 2009, I’ve asked people to write their concept of compassion in a notebook. After asking over 20,000 people are receiving/reading over 10,000 responses, I have been fortunate to learn much about compassion. I know what I know, continue learning, and share these thoughts as an offering from the experience over the past four years of soaking in compassion.

    I believe compassion involves 4 parts: listening, acknowledging, MUTUAL understanding, and action. Pity is alleviating suffering without mutual understanding; compassion is alleviating suffering WITH mutual understanding. If I see someone who I think is hungry, offer them a hamburger, and they are a vegetarian, there isn’t mutual understanding because listening and acknowledging weren’t involved. He/she may not be hungry at all. If one spends the time and establishes what is needed with understanding between those involved, then takes action to alleviate suffering, then it leads to a compassionate act.

    There are exceptions–parents, people laying unconscious in need of help, etc. For the most part true compassion must include equality.

    I also believe the most effective way of showing compassion is to be an example of Divine Love. It brings all suffering into the energy of Love so much that it ripples throughout history and we all know examples of such compassion–Peace Pilgrim, Jesus, Buddha, Mother Teresa. One can only experience Love in the presence of such energy, whether the actual individual is deceased or alive.

    After contemplating compassion since June, 2009, I believe compassion to be recognizing essence. I must say, after reading your line “a heightened awareness of the other’s divine essence” I felt a chill, thinking “Someone else gets it.”

    Again, I thank you for bringing awareness to compassion.

    With compassion,
    David H. Breaux

    • Annie Burnside

      David, your comment is a must-read blog in and of itself. Thank you for your beautiful insights. They touch us all… Namaste, Annie

    • The Daily Love

      Right on, David… We loved reading this. So much to take away and share with others! Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂 -TDL Team

  • Linda

    Annie- Once again I love what you have written. I think about compassion and pity a lot lately and have been tying to be aware of how I am showing up with those around me. This post gave me more to think about as I do this work. Thank you!

    • Annie Burnside

      I am so glad, Linda! I have contemplated them a lot in recent years, most importantly, my relationship to them. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! Warmth, Annie

    • The Daily Love

      Thanks so much, Linda! -TDL Team