Kindness, Empathy, Compassion

In society, people tend to speak of kindness, empathy, and compassion as if they are the same. They distinct and have identifiable qualities. Sometimes two go together. Even all three.

First, let’s clear something up. Being an empath serves no purpose. I was one and had to learn how to detach as it simply sucked the life out of me. Claudia Hammond, British psychologist and broadcaster, has stated that being an empath has no benefit. She runs The Kindness Project which examines the effect of kindness on our mental health. So if you are an empath please get help to detach from being a slave to your emotions. Codependence is often confused with empath, but we will not look at codependency here.

I have been ignored by empaths who think they are special but in fact they become useless to anyone and demand certain qualities in a prospective partner. No partner can be what they think they need and remain fulfilled in a relationship. They would be treading on glass with scant reward in return. An empath has a huge ego believing others who seek to help them to be idiots.

  • Kindness
    Kindness is anything from holding a door open to giving flowers, taking a parcel for a neighbor, offering to wait with a crying child until mommy appears and calling the police after ten minutes. Kindness takes many forms — thanking a menial job worker for what they do, to paying someones grocery bill or train ticket. No effort is required at all but the benefits to your mental health is invaluable.
  • Empathy
    The word “empathy” comes from the Greek word empatheia. The root of that word is pathos or feeling. The Greek prefix “em” means “in” or “to go into.” So, in empathy we go into the feelings of the other. Or, we recognise the feeling of another person and identify with them. This is important for someone who is grieving, made homeless, fallen over, injured etc. Empathy does not exhaust, but enables appropriate comforting or action like providing privacy in a public area. Nurses, most paramedics, etc, all use empathy to some degree in their jobs and kindness helps them be better at their chosen vocation. Doctors often lack empathy as their training is scientific and they see so many people. The Professor who saved my life was always kind, however, and I loved him like an uncle.
  • Compassion
    This requires effort. It is manifesting kindness and empathy while meeting a need. The parable of the Good Samaritan is of compassion. Ministering to the need of strangers or the unlovely, the angry, the dirty, and not letting the condition stop you. When I was researching my Ph.D. I worked in a recovery unit. I sat and listened to people who were still detoxing. They vomited in front of me, shook with DTs, or swore at me. My compassion enabled me to ignore this and carry on. Today, a young girl who declared herself missing was swearing at security staff who had to detain her to keep her safe because of her announcement. I was there taking flowers to the office as thanks for signposting me and and dealing with a difficult situation that I found myself in. I asked the girl to stop swearing so she then swore at me. I told her that as a mother I care about her and she must stop swearing. Eventually, I reprimanded her and she stopped. I explained that she was being kept safe because she had said she was a missing person, and until her parents responded she had to stay safe. I left but then noticed a group of young people who were behaving strangely were heading towards where she was. I headed back to alert the staff, and also told them to go away. I left saying the girl should be arrested at which point the chief of security said to her that if her behavior continued he would have to call the police.

Compassion does not always appear gentle. It is appropriate action at the point of need. The girl above got my compassion because I know she has not had good parenting. I have knelt beside a gravely ill man shouting his name to stop him dying.

Compassion has been afforded to me a few times. My Dad always was compassionate with few exceptions. No one is perfect. A Filipina cleaner had compassion to say hello to me when I had akinetic mutism. Finally, I was able to muster some energy and said hello in return. She squealed with excitement and thus my rehabilitation began.

I am hoping this article is helpful to understand what something is and what it is not. So many people use them interchangeably when they are separate deeds.

Published in PsycoLogically


Christmas Season

Take a pound of goodwill and mix it with cheer, take numberless acts of random kindness, wrapped all together in a smile. Check on your neighbors, get their shopping, drop some coins in the box for charity.

Smile at each person that you pass, give up your seat on the bus. Make extra food to put on plates for those who have no one to see. There’s always room for more people at home.

Play the season’s songs or hum them, wrap gifts with love and a kiss, let the children decorate the tree with handmade baubles, and silver chains. Their friends can help them too. Place extra gifts for those you don’t expect to meet.

Take candy to work, and fix the elderly woman’s shelf, make sure all your neighbours fairy lights work.

Drop a card through the letterbox of the neighbour who shouted at you, send a text to the friend who was cross for no reason, goodwill — that’s what it means.

Sit down last at the table, having filled plates. Thank God for his goodness and pass it along. Let kindness and compliments be true from your lips.

Visit the unwell with a plate of hot food. Make sure none you know of are lonely, if you can spare half an hour.

Let the children sing, let them laugh and play. Go to bed knowing you can help others be happy, it just takes a tick. Wake, and be ready to do it all again.


Recovery still ongoing…

I am still recovering from Thursday. Just some aches in my ribs from sitting for so long in the cold. I got cold. I have been much colder but that was another era in my health.

I have sent thank you cards. Sent texts of gratitude.

My gratitude for strangers who are so kind is boundless. I actually believe no one is a stranger, but a friend in waiting. I have always done my best to be kind. All over the world I have experienced kindness. I used to be quite a risk taker, although other risk takers might think me very tame.

Risks are better taken in warm climates. Then, if you have nowhere to sleep, you won’t freeze.

I have continued with napping. My daughter came yesterday and made me a hot dinner.

I made someone very happy today, just by sending a card. I was thrilled. I love making people feel happy.

I’ve been writing and now write for two publications on It’s so rewarding, and I don’t mean money..


Brain Fog, or my chaotic mind…

I knew that today I would need to get groceries. I logged in to my emails, responded to some and deleted a lot, as right now I have not a lot of time for the campaigns I m involved with. With Trump playing around with war, and another Tory government, I am needing a break.

So I contacted a friend about travel arrangements to a poetry event at the weekend, booked a facial because I deserve it, and went to put on my mac.

I had planned to go to the mini supermarket 250 yards away. Somehow twenty yards out of my gates, I decided to go and buy some plants. So I headed to the local nursery. I met a friend on the way, which was good.

So I bought a rambling rose, and a variegated plant that produces creamy blooms, an ivy from the bargain table, a primrose, another plant I’m not sure of, but it looked interesting, and some stones to prevent weeds coming up.

So my basket was full, to say the least, and my shopping bag contained these stones. But, I don’t like missing opportunities. So I went to the larger supermarket on my way home. My groceries only just fitted into my bag.

I arrived home, and staggered into my kitchen after having deposited my plants in the garden. I put stuff in the fridge and cupboards, and arrived in my office upstairs wiped out. I lay, and used my inhaler, and within 10 minutes.

I need to stick to a plan. I exhaust myself by following an idea that pops into my head, without thinking about it will tire me.

I encountered a rough sleeper on my way back from the nursery. At first, I simply wished him a good day, and then went back and gave him a small amount of money. I understand that their only opportunity to get warm may be an alcoholic drink. He said he didn’t drink, and would get a coffee. A hot chocolate might be better. I went on, and went back again. I offered him a place to shower. He did say he would take the offer. In the supermarket I bought extra bread and cheese, so that he can have hot cheese on toast, if he comes. It’s so quick, hot and comforting, especially if made with butter.

I have locked my back door and hidden the key, as I don’t want him to work out another route to my home. There are kind gestures, and there is stupidity.


Today is World Kindness Day…

There have been several days that I’ve meant to write about, but life has taken over in various ways.

Did you enjoy the full moon last night? It is so beautiful. I love it every time.

I went to a poetry event yesterday evening. It was about 20 miles away. I went because an old friend was headlining the evening. There were also a number of people who are always glad to see me, and I was able to put a few names to faces. Poetry is very much alive in my part of the world. It also helped me to feel ‘normal’ after the horrible bruising of my pelvis and the effects of the adrenalin that so overwhelmed my body. The symptoms continue to subside.

You may not realise that if you are kind to someone, you get a benefit too. A smile at someone realises endorphins. These are the ‘happy chemicals’ that we associate with kissing, or laughing, or a good movie.

In studies, it has been shown that people who are lonely or depressed feel better after small conversations with other people. It could be a simple hello in the street, a comment or two about the weather, a phone call to someone.

Helping someone pick up what they’ve dropped, holding dog’s lead while it’s poop is bagged, all this actions make us feel better.

We are social creatures and need interaction. I was grateful last night to a man the bus who seemed ready to get off. I asked him if this was the best stop for me to get off. He told me yes. When I alighted, he was waiting for me and asked I minded as he didn’t want to be a pest. I was touched, and assured him his consideration was appreciated. We walked to a crossing, and everything became familiar. I thanked him and crossed over.

During a break in the evening, I went and reminded myself to Connie, the DJ. He is so lovely, so warm and so kind. At the end of the evening he took me the shortest, uncrowded route out of the bar. He almost kept my handbag. I’m truly fond of him.

My friend, Abby, bought me a drink – I must buy her one, it’s over due. All these acts of kindness make the doers feel good. As well as me.

So when you feel low, smile at someone. You will feel better. Try to say hello to someone, do an act of kindness and try to talk to people.


The morning after…

This morning I woke with a very painful bruise on the back of my pelvis, and a tender spot on my skull. I am very fortunate. Thank you for your kind remarks and concern.

It was a blessing in disguise, as I was able to catch up with my friends. They had heard about Michael Ebsworth’s attempt to move in. I explained why he left and their response was the same as every other of my friends. He has always known I am frail, and always known I have help in my home. It was not an eye opener for him at all.

According to his former girlfriend, he was very untidy. We will leave it at that. So she was shocked to hear his criticism of my home, etc. He wasn’t when he lived next door. He, like the paramedic, told me I have very good taste.

So my friend who lives down the road brought milk this morning. I’m having a duvet day as another friend had suggested. I had wanted to move around, but that hurts too much.

My new front door arrived this morning. I chose a white one this time, but still with two vertical frosted panels. I love how the white adds more light to my hall. The sun comes through and picks up the sunshine of my pale apricot walls. In summer, the sun comes through my bathroom and plays with the pale apricot. I really love my home. The harbour looks very still today, a change after all the stormy weather.

So today I will rest. I will watch some TV and hopefully nap.


Still grateful…

I found another paragraph I wrote five years ago. It was a year of stresses, as my daughter sat major exams and I had to have the ceiling in her bedroom replaced.

I am grateful for those people who I do not know personally who always return my smile. In the street, or a store, a garage etc. I am grateful for the help of strangers at times when I have needed an ambulance, a phone call made, an extra penny, directions or a bed to sleep in.
I am grateful for the wonderful people who help care for my Dad. They help give me peace of mind and hug me when I have tears.
I am grateful for my GP. He is one in several million and has taken the time to understand the rare disease that has caused so much distress. He is always compassionate, understanding and helpful.
I am grateful for certain people who know who they are who have been there for me in times of breakdown, grief, heartbreak and anguish. They have my unconditional friendship.

Today I went out for some air and odds and ends. I happened to drop a loaf of bread. One lady stopped to tell me I had dropped it and gave me advice, another lady picked it up for me. You can guess who I felt gratitude towards.

I’m very grateful that Ebsworth did not stay. I only saw brief glimpses of the man I’d begun to fall for, but that man was kind and thoughtful and showed me a lot of kindness. I’ll always be grateful for that. I was vulnerable after my Dad died and stricken by the death of my sister, and then my beloved dog a week later. Although, conflicting, is that he was able to sexually assault me. I wish I’d never withdrawn the complaint.


SHARED FROM A FRIEND IT WAS TOO MEANINGFUL NOT TO PASS ALONG: When I was a kid, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now & then. I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage, & extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all my dad did was reach for his Biscuit, smile at my mom & ask me how my day was at school. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. I’ll never forget what he said: “Honey, I love burned biscuits.” Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night & I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms & said, “Your momma put in a long hard day at work today & she’s real tired. Besides… a burnt biscuit never hurt anyone!” You know, life is full of imperfect things… & imperfect people. I’m not the best at hardly anything, & I forget birthdays & anniversaries just like everyone else. What I’ve learned over the years is that learning to accept each others faults & choosing to celebrate each others differences, is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, & lasting relationship. So…please pass me a biscuit. And yes, the burned one will do just fine! And please pass this along to someone who has enriched your life… I just did! Life is too short to wake up with regrets… Love the people who treat you right & forget about the ones who don’t. ENJOY LIFE NOW – IT HAS AN EXPIRATION DATE!!!…

This post doesn’t have a title as I copied and pasted this from elsewhere in my docx, and it won’t co-operate with my wish for a title. I’m a hopeless blogger. My cleaner just left and told me I keep my home much tidier than a lot of places she cleans. She didn’t need to say this. She said it because she is kind and full of love for people. Life is too short to criticise and find fault with others all the time.


My journey is going well…

It’s been about two weeks now since I needed intervention for my breathing, and I can’t remember how long since I was in hospital.

It feels good. I am keeping my inhaler and phone with me at all times and I feel calm and peaceful. Last night I was too tired to eat, as I had three appointments one after the other with people and the hair salon. I simply flopped on my bed and took my medicine and fell asleep. My mobile phone gets a lot of traffic and yesterday I had a job keeping up.

I like doing random acts of kindness. It gives me pleasure. If you haven’t tried it, give it a go. It will enrich your life.