Nature vs. Nurture

Have you ever wondered whether compassion is an innate characteristic or a learned behavior? Or both?

I have good news for you. Compassion can be learned and strengthened. Compassion CAN be cultivated. And there is science to back this up. Compassion is essential for human flourishing. Babies need compassion and loving care in order to grow. According to the Greater Good Science Center, “While cynics may dismiss compassion as touchy-feely or irrational, scientists have started to map the biological basis of compassion, suggesting its deep evolutionary purpose. This research has shown that when we feel compassion, our heart rate slows down, we secrete the “bonding hormone” oxytocin, and regions of the brain linked to empathy, caregiving, and feelings of pleasure light up, which often results in our wanting to approach and care for other people.”

I sometimes talk about when I asked my mom 20 years ago, to describe her kids with just one word, her word for me was fiery. When I asked her 20 years later her word for me was passionate. What’s the difference? In my younger years my activism came from a place of anger. 20 years later I’m still as much of an activist, but it comes from a place of compassion. When I was younger I used to wish to be lighter in the world. Not so intense. It was through compassion that I learned to understand my motivations, stay true to my convictions and keep my fire a bit more under control.

And you are in luck. Compassionate Atlanta with our partner, Raising the Vibe, is offering a 10-week Compassionate Integrity Training (CIT) course starting September 3rd.

In signing up for this class, you will strengthen your compassion muscle, meet others who want to do the same and experience the compassion ripple effect.

Leanne Rubenstein
Compassion Cultivator
Compassionate Atlanta

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