Compassion allows us to use our own pain and the pain of others as a vehicle for connection. This is a delicate and profound path. We may be adverse to seeing our own suffering because it tends to ignite a blaze of self-blame and regret. And we may be adverse to seeing suffering in others because we find it unbearable or distasteful, or we find it threatening to our own happiness. All of these possible reactions to the suffering in the world make us want to turn away from life.
In contrast, compassion manifests in us as the offering of kindness rather than withdrawal. Because compassion is a state of mind that is itself open, abundant and inclusive, it allows us to meet pain more directly. With direct seeing, we know that we are not alone in our suffering and that no one need feel alone when in pain. Seeing our oneness is the beginning of compassion, and it allows us to reach beyond aversion and separation.— Sharon Salzberg, The Kindness Handbook