There is a school of thought that suggests compassion is expressed through serving those who are less fortunate. It’s a compelling position because it makes us feel good when we improve someone’s life, and it coincidently holds some social loyalty miles.

A dominant narrative is birthed that begins to expect this. It’s no longer voluntary. It’s a status issue. Corporate social responsibility has become investment. We need returns. We call it social returns to justify the marketing miles rack up.

If everyone hands out the food for the photo opp, who produces it? Is the highest form of compassion not a singular focus on the one thing I do better than anyone else. By dedicating myself to my unique contribution, I offer the opportunity to others to do the same thing. Soon enough, everyone does what they are best at doing. Fulfilled and loved.

It’s not the social status boosting, endorphin fueled, quick fix we prefer. But perhaps compassion is more than the portion of my income I ‘donate’ to a cause.

Perhaps it’s my lifework instead.

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