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Has anyone ever shown you compassion? When I read the real story about a child in Brazil below, which I have edited for the purpose of this article, I realised all over again how powerful compassion is.

‘Luísa was two years old when her mother started leaving her in bars as “collateral” for the drinks she couldn’t pay for. The last time this happened Luísa sat for two days, stashed in a corner, waiting for crumbs to fall from customers’ tables.

Sadly, Luísa’s story isn’t unique. In Brazil, where she lives, the rate of child neglect is alarmingly high.

After two days the bar owner finally realised and called Luísa’s grandmother, Lourdes, to collect her.

Lourdes took Luísa into her home, where the toddler’s older sister, 10-year-old Elisabete, was already living. “Luísa almost died of being mistreated,” recalls Elisabete, now 18. “But I took care of her.”

Hands holding to help.

When Luísa turned three, Elisabete took her to be registered at the local ‘Compassion’ project. At first Luísa cried and recoiled if anyone tried to comfort her. But the staff and volunteers knew they couldn’t give up.

Finally, their patience paid off. It was at the project that Luísa, now 7 years old, spoke her first words. And today, Luísa is a kind and thoughtful girl who picks flowers for her tutor, Marina at the project.

The love and protection she is receiving is slowly healing her wounds’.

Arguably, the bar owner as well as Luisa’s grandmother and older sister and the project team showed compassion towards her. The results speak for themselves.

15 of Your Most Loved Stories This Year | Compassion UK

I wonder what you think of as compassion ……

Some ideas which may come to mind are, reaching out, feeling for someone else, kindness, communicating support.

It goes without saying that being compassionate is a very special quality, which we consider in terms of communicating kindness to other people.

On the other hand, are you compassionate towards yourself? Am I towards myself?

Being compassionate is more than looking after ourselves, (self-care). According to an expert Paul Gilbert, it is turning towards whatever our suffering is about, and doing things which will relieve it. According to Paul, it takes courage and wisdom to do this.

Thought for the Week:

Compassionate Minds Foundation

Writing this article has challenged me to think about showing myself compassion.

Maybe next time I feel angry and criticise myself for not completing a task on time and/or the way I wanted to, it would be helpful for me to have a gentle talk with myself rather than beating myself up.

Sources of inspiration/help are listed below:

Rachel Honeyford

I work by providing a safe, confidential space where people can bring their feelings and thoughts and work at their own pace. My aim is to be supportive and compassionate while helping people see aspects of their situation they haven't already considered. I aim to adapt my approach to every unique individual's particular wishes, needs and circumstances. For example, I offer the opportunity to work creatively and/or look at past experiences or how someone thinks and feels in 'the here and now'.

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