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#217174 - 02/17/10 06:56 AM Pity vs. Compassion  
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EchosMom Offline
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I posted this in Ophelia's ABA thread and am interested in feedback/comments. Since the ABA forum is closed for discussion, I'm opening it up for discussion here.

Originally Posted By: EchosMom
Originally Posted By: ZazuSally
I think in feeling sorry for our bird's past life we do them a disservice because we all know that feeling sorry for ourselves accomplishes nothing, we need to move forward. Our birds are willing to do that if we do the right things.


Absolutely Bev! Having 5 birds with rough histories, and along the way I learned the difference between pity and compassion. As I was sitting here struggling to explain the difference, I decided to Google "compassion and pity" and low and behold...

Quote:

“Pity” is an emotional response based on fear and misunderstanding. We “look down into a pit” and see someone in a condition very different from ourselves. From our vantage point far above them, we can enumerate all the things that separate “us” from “them”. We work to keep “them” at arm’s length, throwing things into the proverbial pit that we think will alleviate the misery down there, but not considering how we might help the person get out. We focus so much on the current condition they’re in that we don’t look at the potential of where they might be. We become so consumed by fear (“Oh, what if that were me—thank God that’s not me—I couldn’t imagine living like that!” that it restricts our response to actions that will preserve our position of power. We think that, if we can maintain that “higher ground,” we’ll somehow insulate ourselves from the possibility of future challenges for ourselves.

“Compassion,” by contrast, is “coming alongside another human being”. The “passion” at the end of the word implies that, somehow, the heart has to be deeply engaged. From this perspective, we see someone eye to eye, even when that’s uncomfortable for us. We don’t let ourselves get bogged down or overwhelmed by the other’s circumstances, but we don’t shy away from “getting our hands dirty” in order to help them help themselves. We relate to and interact with them on the basis of our shared humanity, always working to preserve their dignity and maintaining a respect for them. This respect and love for a fellow human being are the roots of compassion.


http://halfnotes.wordpress.com/2008/11/07/potent-words-pity-versus-compassion/

While the article is geared for human beings, it shouldn't be.

Last edited by EchosMom; 02/17/10 06:58 AM.

Birds are angels who lift us up when our own wings forget how to fly.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world - indeed it is the only thing that ever has!" ~~~ Margaret Meade ~~~

Noelle, A Rehabilitation in Progress
#217185 - 02/17/10 03:34 PM Re: Pity vs. Compassion [Re: EchosMom]  
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You know I just realized that I see this in people all the time and in fact, I used to be the proverbial victim. Had the "poor me" down to a science for most of my adult life. I realized much later in life that feeling sorry for yourself absolutely cripples you. You don't/can't move forward and that is the saddest thing of all. Life is such a wonderful gift. It really is.

Case in point, I had a pretty horrible marriage, I think it lasted 5 minutes. LOL But I played the victim for all it was worth. It was a huge pity party and unfortunately, I was the only one there. LOL All in all, I was a pretty angry person until somebody gave me Sugar and she changed everything. How and why, I can't really tell you but she absolutely lead me down a road of discovery and growth and truth. It has been and continues to be an amazing journey and I am very thankful for it. Some of it, I really don't understand but figure it's meant to be and I just go with the flow. I believe that things happen for a reason. I don't profess to understand all those reasons but so far, so good.

I always was a compassionate person but one who spent way too much time feeling sorry for herself. Oddly enough, in the last 10 years, I have lost my mother, father, brother, sister, and 2 birds including my beloved Sugar, had breast cancer in 2002 and have dealt with those things in a much healthier way. Life throws you curves sometimes, so you can't take it personally, it is just life. You just have to deal with it and move on. Feeling sorry for Nikki or Zazu or Gypsy or Sally would not be good for them, we needed to move forward and that's exactly what we did. I occasionally get knocked on my ass (with Sally) but I just pick myself up, dust myself off, maybe have a few seconds of poor me ( I am human after all LOL)and move forward.

We are all going to have stressful things in our life. It's how we deal with them that matters.

Good find, EM!!!

Bev


Owner: DebRan Bird Toys
#217240 - 02/18/10 03:29 AM Re: Pity vs. Compassion [Re: ZazuSally]  
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Pity...
Does it depend on sympathy or empathy? Or is it a combination? To me, it is the combination. But ether HAS to be combined with some inkling of knowledge for ether, both to be of any worth.
JMO
x


If you can't see the bright side of life, polish the dull side.
#217297 - 02/19/10 06:59 AM Re: Pity vs. Compassion [Re: wishfull]  
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Originally Posted By: ZazuSally
I think in feeling sorry for our bird's past life we do them a disservice because we all know that feeling sorry for ourselves accomplishes nothing, we need to move forward. Our birds are willing to do that if we do the right things. Make sense?


This is what Bev said that jumped out at me, and she is spot on. While some human beings may thrive on pity (the poor me syndrome), where the birds in our care are concerned, to pity them is a disservice.

Quote:
We don’t shy away from “getting our hands dirty” in order to help them help themselves. We relate to and interact with them on the basis of our shared humanity, always working to preserve their dignity and maintaining a respect for them. This respect and love for a fellow human being are the roots of compassion.


Eliminating the references to humans, it would read:

We don’t shy away from “getting our hands dirty” in order to help them help themselves. We relate to and interact with them, always working to preserve their dignity and maintaining a respect for them. This respect and love are the roots of compassion.

I guess where the article differs from the human aspect is that we humans (as Bev said) get caught up in feeling sorry for ourselves. And who is the "superior" species???

I have 5 birds with crappy histories. I've learned that the day I stopped feeling "pity" and started feeling "compassion" (as defined in the article) was absolutely the best thing I had done for each of them.


Birds are angels who lift us up when our own wings forget how to fly.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world - indeed it is the only thing that ever has!" ~~~ Margaret Meade ~~~

Noelle, A Rehabilitation in Progress
#217299 - 02/19/10 07:05 AM Re: Pity vs. Compassion [Re: EchosMom]  
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Very well said EM!!!!!!!!!!


Jan

Sometimes damaged goods are the best gifts the world has to offer
#217300 - 02/19/10 07:18 AM Re: Pity vs. Compassion [Re: EchosMom]  
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No need to limit it to
Originally Posted By: EchosMom
birds with crappy histories.


Empathy in the case of "pet" birds invariably leads to a feeling of sadness. They are in a pitiable condition as captives. And it's not a situation that they can rise above. But empathy is necessary in order to provide the best possible care: to understand their needs and desires and to communicate. I acknowledge that Bill, although he is "well-adjusted" to his life, has been mentally and emotionally crippled by a lifetime of isolation and captivity.

#217301 - 02/19/10 07:31 AM Re: Pity vs. Compassion [Re: Izzie]  
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Very true Izzie, very true! But the fact remains they are captive (regardless of their history) and we can't change that. It is not in our power to re-write history. So it is up to us, as their caretakers, to make their lives the best they can possibly be.


Birds are angels who lift us up when our own wings forget how to fly.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world - indeed it is the only thing that ever has!" ~~~ Margaret Meade ~~~

Noelle, A Rehabilitation in Progress
#217308 - 02/19/10 05:27 PM Re: Pity vs. Compassion [Re: EchosMom]  
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That's the thing, EM, I see people around me with the "poor me syndrome" and the problem is there can be no growth where there is pity. If you talk to some of these people, it's always the glass is half empty, they never seem to have anything good to say and after awhile, it just sucks the life out of you. There is someone I know right now whose husband is dying. He is only 47 years old. I have compassion for her and understand all too well her pain but I don't pity her. She is having a terrible time which we can all understand but pity is not going to help her through this terrible time, compassion will.

Same thing goes for birds. I don't feel sorry for Nikki. She is becoming a little spit-fire. I do, however, have compassion for all the birds that are locked in cages every day. I am ashamed at what humans have done to parrots so rather than get locked into a void of pity for them, I do what I can to help in my own small way.

Pay it forward, I always say!!!


Bev


Owner: DebRan Bird Toys
#218238 - 03/13/10 01:33 AM Re: Pity vs. Compassion [Re: ZazuSally]  
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I think an apt analogy would be that pity is 'give the man a fish' and compassion is 'teach the man to fish'...jmo


Karen, Lucy (U2), BooBoo (CAG),Pina (BCC),Willie (Cockatiel),
Melody, Sonata, Penny & Dory(dogs)
#218373 - 03/21/10 08:52 AM Re: Pity vs. Compassion [Re: Lucy's Mom]  
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From the point of view of someone who received a lot of 'pity' after a certain event happenned in my life, I'd like to add, from the POV of the receiver, that pity was not helpful, and in my case, it was not wanted.
What being on the receiving end of pity did for me was disempower and weaken me to the point of paralysis - mental and physical.
People were frightened of what it must be like to be in 'my situation' - the fear was written all over their faces and I felt very... removed from them (as opposed to compassion -'coming alongside another human being').
If you want to help someone (or somebird) in pain, treat them as if they are strong and that they will cope. Believe in them, dont pity them - thats what helps.
Anita

#218429 - 03/22/10 05:06 AM Re: Pity vs. Compassion [Re: anitamarie942]  
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Well said smile

#218492 - 03/24/10 04:05 AM Re: Pity vs. Compassion [Re: anitamarie942]  
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So the real deal is that if we just 'give' someone something we can remove ourselves from the process, and that is akin to pity.

But if we teach or work with them to help them recover or learn something new or find a new approach, then we are offering compassion...and that is far more effective.

This makes a tremendous amount of sense and is something I have struggled with in my own life. Applying it to our Toos is another step foward in empathy which allows us to act with compassion which is really the desired outcome...imo


Karen, Lucy (U2), BooBoo (CAG),Pina (BCC),Willie (Cockatiel),
Melody, Sonata, Penny & Dory(dogs)
#218501 - 03/24/10 05:05 AM Re: Pity vs. Compassion [Re: Lucy's Mom]  
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I'm glad to see more comments on thread. I find the subject very thought provoking.


Birds are angels who lift us up when our own wings forget how to fly.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world - indeed it is the only thing that ever has!" ~~~ Margaret Meade ~~~

Noelle, A Rehabilitation in Progress
#218721 - 03/30/10 02:24 PM Re: Pity vs. Compassion [Re: EchosMom]  
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i think we need to stop trying to change our birds and look at ourselves. they are being what god created them to be wild animals. and we have taken that right away from them. so considering were they are now all we can do is make their lives as good as it gets.and the ones that cant handle it, well that speaks for it's self. i call that the me, me, me. i, i, i generation.
we have learned it it doesnt fit our lifestyles get rid of it


May your Birds out live You.Only in caring Hands.
#221886 - 06/10/10 05:37 PM Re: Pity vs. Compassion [Re: tristian]  
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"So the real deal is that if we just 'give' someone something we can remove ourselves from the process, and that is akin to pity.

But if we teach or work with them to help them recover or learn something new or find a new approach, then we are offering compassion...and that is far more effective."

I work in the social service field and this is what we talk about with humans. The "Charity" model vs: the "empowerment model". Charity is when you say "oh you poor people with no internal capacity for growth or change - here's a sammich" empowerment is when you teach them about nutrition, how to shop & cook, and start a community kitchen.

One dignifies, the other victimizes and keeps us 'better than'.

Which do you want to do with your bird?


Wanna Bill? Wanna Bill?
-No Bill, I'm busy-
Dontcha wanna Bill? Dontcha wanna good boy?
#221890 - 06/10/10 06:04 PM Re: Pity vs. Compassion [Re: spinnyspoo]  
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Spinny you hit the "Nail on the Head"

Compassion vs Pity...
Originally Posted By: spinnyspoo


One dignifies, the other victimizes and keeps us 'better than'.

Which do you want to do with your bird?


This pretty much says it all!!!


Deborah
A Too is not a pet, it is a choice for life!


#221909 - 06/10/10 09:03 PM Re: Pity vs. Compassion [Re: FeatheredAngels]  
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Excellent post Megan!


Birds are angels who lift us up when our own wings forget how to fly.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world - indeed it is the only thing that ever has!" ~~~ Margaret Meade ~~~

Noelle, A Rehabilitation in Progress

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