I saw this excellent infographic on pity > sympathy > empathy > compassion in Psychology Today. It helped me understand the growth of our engagement when it comes to other people’s suffering.

November was a heavy month for me. It was my first time participating in National Adoptee Awareness Month by sharing just a little bit of my truth and reading other adoptee’s stories. I could relate so much to their trauma, and their bravery gave me the strength to share.

I appreciate all the support, compassion, and kindness I received. You truly humble me by just reading and commenting. Sharing and connecting has helped start true healing for me.

But I also realized in all of this that I have not always been the best listener. Because I hid and internalized my pain—I was consumed by it—and I had a hard time being authentic and connecting to others. This has helped me realize that I have a lot more growing to do to really thrive and help others.

I believe all of this is not just about adoption, though… Awareness doesn’t stop here because every single one of us experiences some form of trauma and pain. And like any infection, if not taken care of or dealt with, the problem will persist and grow.

I really want to encourage those who feel alone or have unresolved issues to find someone they trust or speak with a professional to begin that step. No matter what your age, you can start healing those wounds… This is showing compassion to ourselves… And when we take the time to heal our pain, I believe we are really helping our children, our families, and our friends—those in our lives that matter the most to us.

I also want to encourage those who want to show compassion to those who are suffering—whether mentally, physically, or spiritually that it can be as simple as just listening, being there, following up—asking, “what can I do?”

What other ways are there to show compassion to those you love?

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