This question stems from @Stingray and @Michaela's comments here:, among many other posts lately.

I have always felt compassion spring up inside me when I see someone else is suffering. My heart just hurts to see others hurt, I don't know any other way to describe it. So I really want to help myself as well as them. If someone asks for help, I just have a very hard time keeping my mouth shut. Um, you may have noticed... :s

I've been learning here lately that it can be overdone, and disempowering to the very people I would like so much to comfort and assist in any small way I can.

As I said to @Stingray, I don't want to be dragging people down by feeling sorry for them. I'm looking for that balance that so many others seem to understand, but has somehow eluded me.

I want to understand where that line is - I mean, between compassion and pity. Any suggestions?

asked 18 Jul '12, 11:51

Grace's gravatar image


I think, like everything else to do with taking physical action, you have to at least feel neutral (preferably "good") within yourself first before taking the physical action of offering help to others.

Some people's life situations can seem so distressing that even the slightest observation of them can send you into deeply troubling thoughts of your own.

Most, if not all, the people who regularly participate on IQ are highly sensitive to the needs of others, because they want to help others at some level within themselves even if they don't realize it yet.

But helping from a place of disconnection within yourself isn't help, it's just making two people disconnected instead of one :)

If you want to "uplift" others, you cannot do so by being mired in the same emotional pain as they are. As controversial as it sounds, simply sympathizing with the plight of another just keeps them locked in that painful emotion even longer.

So I would say that, after feeling the initial emotional "hit" of sensing their pain, you need to do what you need to do to find your own "center" again and then, from that "center", do what you feel inspired to do regarding that situation.

And sometimes, from that place of (at least) calmness, you may not feel like you want to help them. For me, when that happens it means I am not the appropriate person to offer them help in that situation and I can just trust that the strength of their own desire will get their "answer" to them somehow through the path of least resistance, usually someone else who is more on their "wavelength".

I think if you do that, you don't need to worry about that line between compassion and pity. Your inner guidance will never allow you to disempower another.

EDIT - July 21, 2012

Funnily enough, one of today's Abraham quotes on the AbeQuotes group was about compassion...

Utter compassion is a complete and not freaking out awareness of where someone is. That is utter compassion.

Just think about it. If there is the slightest discomfort as you look at where someone is, you've got nothing to give them. So utter compassion must be the okay-ness of where you are, the all-rightness of where you are because after all, it's temporary, and it's the beginning of where you're going.

Can you feel it? It's huge. It's the missing piece. It's the piece that medicine is looking for. It's the piece that everyone who's wanting to feel good is looking for. It's what's missing in relationships that aren't working. It's the piece. The okay-ness with what is. Because it's so temporary. And because IT, this blessed 'what is' produced this. And without this blessed 'what is', this expanded beingness, which is the promise of eternity, could not exist.

Abraham-Hicks - Denver, CO 9/3/11


answered 18 Jul '12, 13:31

Stingray's gravatar image


edited 21 Jul '12, 03:36

That makes sense to me, @Stingray, thank you. It's making me think that if I'm not in the Vortex or anywhere near, it would be no wonder I can be dragging someone down, or at least away, from their own Vortex by "co-miserating" (?)

(18 Jul '12, 13:53) Grace

@Grace - If you are not in the Vortex, you are a perfect match to other people who are not in the Vortex :) So, ironically enough, the time when one is most tuned into someone who is in pain is also when one can least help them. It's almost an annoying fact of life that I can't just dump my own life insights, when feeling good, straight into the mind of someone else who could benefit from them. But you can't, unfortunately-Law of Attraction doesn't allow mismatched vibrations. They won't listen.

(18 Jul '12, 14:10) Stingray

@Stingray - Mmmmmm I remember someone being rather worried about getting a punch in the face when I was very low, but he ran too darned fast... :) I could hear the sense of the advice, and felt the compassion, but I don't think I could follow the advice til I could bring myself up and read it again later, as you said. I think just knowing someone was trying to reach me, reached me, and comforted me a lot.

Can I do that for others? Just by saying I'm here? Or is that also not a good idea?

(18 Jul '12, 14:16) Grace

@Grace - Holding a position of "I'm here for you" stability is really the best you can do in the end. It's exactly what your Inner Being is doing for you. When you get into the Vortex, you are just attuning with that broader part of you that refuses to "downlift" to where you are (because it won't help) and instead holds that place of stability until you are ready for it again. Regarding the "running fast" advice, yes, it was never really going to help until you were ready for it :)

(18 Jul '12, 14:23) Stingray

@Grace - ...but just because something is vibrationally impossible doesn't stop me trying :)

(18 Jul '12, 14:24) Stingray

@Stingray - thank goodness for that.

(18 Jul '12, 14:38) Grace

@Stingray the words Holding a position of "I'm here for you" stability made me think of a toddler toddling, or a sick person who needs a hand. I would know to brace myself in a strong stance to lift or to support them physically.

(18 Jul '12, 14:47) Grace

.... and two people disconnected instead of one, makes me think of bad marriages. I understand that, too, and why it won't work.

(18 Jul '12, 14:55) Grace

I do have one more question.... Sometimes people get angry when I don't commiserate. It happens sometimes when people are very sad, but more often when people are simply angry and complaining or feeling negative, and I won't jump in that stream with them.

Any advice as to how best to respond in that case? It has left me stumped many times, I end up just sitting there looking at them get madder and madder.

(18 Jul '12, 15:48) Grace

@Grace - Yes, that's a very familiar scenario to a lot of people :) I call that "clattering". See . As for what to do, unless you are going to give up your own connection for them (not recommended), the only solution I've really ever found is to keep your center and allow events to unfold naturally. If the negative person "clatters" out of your reality as a result of you feeling better, they were going to anyway...sooner or later.

(18 Jul '12, 16:03) Stingray

@Stingray - I remember that. I didn't make the connection, thank you. And thank you so much for spending so much of your time helping me with this issue. It has been bothering me.

(18 Jul '12, 16:12) Grace

@Grace - No problem :) One thing I should add which I don't think I've mentioned on IQ before...sometimes I've noticed a "clattering cycle" which means that when the other person feels bad (assuming you keep centered), they clatter from your reality. But when they feel good again, they keep coming back again and you keep wanting them back. I tend to think there are "higher level agreements" going on when something like that happens.

(18 Jul '12, 16:22) Stingray

But..... You can't leave me there, @Stingray! You know how I am, that will drive me nuts...;)

I recognize the circumstances you described. Please tell me what you mean by "higher level agreements"?

(18 Jul '12, 16:28) Grace

@Grace - Well, think it through logically...two people, when both are feeling good, feel inspired to be together...assuming it really is inspiration and not co-dependency - I sense another question coming :) - but whenever they are together again, something keeps kicking them out of their collective "Vortex" and the clattering happens again. Now if something keeps kicking you out of your personal "Vortex", you know you have some vibrational work to do. I think the same thing probably...

(18 Jul '12, 16:37) Stingray

@Grace - ...applies for both of them too. They are using each other to activate an "issue" (perhaps different for both of them) that they wish to clean up, or integrate. At the "higher level", they sense the value that the relationship has for this purpose and so there is that "higher level" agreement in place - the source of the inspiration for them to be together when they feel aligned. Not sure I have this fully worked out yet to my own's mainly thinking out loud :)

(18 Jul '12, 16:42) Stingray

@Stingray, I first thought you meant some kind of a pre-incarnation agreement. I recognize your description of a valued relationship, too.

I've so often wondered why we come together, when it doesn't always seem logical on the surface, or especially doesn't seem so to others outside the relationship. I wonder why we are drawn toward anyone, really. Friends, lovers, authors, teachers, anybody.

I have never seen a reference to a "Collective Vortex". That is an interesting idea, too.

(18 Jul '12, 17:01) Grace

@Grace - Since linear time is an illusion, is there really any difference between a "pre-incarnation agreement" and any other kind? :) "Collective Vortex" is not an Abraham idea (yet) as far as I'm aware. But have you noticed there is an "energy" on IQ and when you tune into it, you become "smarter" than you would be alone? Regarding being drawn to other people, the 9-D Pleiadians would say it's about resolving galactic issues on a micro scale:

(18 Jul '12, 17:14) Stingray

@Stingray - Yes, I have noticed the energy on IQ. I attract very intelligent people to me here, so I can only assume they are a mirror for me. :) So that would be the collective IQ Vortex? I like that idea.

I am at my brightest here, no doubt, but sometimes also my dimmest. I think that is when it is me asking for help! I have never figured out how to do that um.... "Gracefully". :)

(18 Jul '12, 18:09) Grace

I think that the galactic issues on a micro scale also makes perfect sense to me, as does the illusion of linear time messing with the idea of "pre-incarnation agreements", but the inspired -vs- co-dependent relationship thingie, I uh....I think I'll go ahead and run with it. ;)

@Stingray, Thanks a million. :)

(18 Jul '12, 18:18) Grace

@Stingray - Re Edit on July 21st, 2012 - That's wonderful! Love it when stuff like this happens... :) It's so fun how the universe keeps giving me opportunities to practice what I learn here. Just a few days ago I met someone in my excersize class who, wanting pity and probably spotting a softie, always makes a point of grimacing in pain, whenever I look their way. It just makes me smile, and I have to be careful not to laugh.

(23 Jul '12, 11:51) Grace

Now having caught on to some more here, and especially what you've said about "clattering", I can't wait to see what happens next! Hope I don't get a punch in the face! Lol! They are likely to quit, is my guess. (My hope...)

(23 Jul '12, 11:51) Grace
showing 2 of 21 show 19 more comments

Hi Grace...Great advice from both Stingray and Wade so I'll try to come at it from a slightly different angle or a female perspective, since I feel a little compelled to offer an answer as I think my comment was partially responsible for you asking the question.

I totally get where you're coming from as not too long ago I found myself struggling somewhat with the same issue. I've always been pretty sensitive to other people's energy and can immediately sense when someone's not feeling good even when they put on the mask of false bravado and try to hide it.I realized that to be so empathetic to their suffering that on some level I must have been feeling that way too. The more time I spent on introspection and nurturing my own personal dvelopment the more I began to garner the ability to come from a place of genuine compassion without taking on any of their suffering.

I'm fortunate enough to work in an environment where I get the opportunity every day to deal with a diverse group of people and I use it as an opportunity to help them feel a little better about themselves. When I sense the energy of someone suffering or not feeling good I no longer feel sorry for them ( that's pity and smacks of undertones of feeling superior to them and is really just sheer arrogance on my part, as I truly feel we all have the same power within to end our own suffering, and where they are in that moment is where they need to be for their own soul growth ). Instead I look for something positive to say to them ( just a simple compliment works wonders... there's always something if we look) and it never fails to elicit a positive response back, sometimes only in the form of a smile. And the wonderful thing is I know I've helped in some little way to make them feel better about themselves and in return I feel good for helping in some little way and the negative energy doesn't affect me :)


answered 18 Jul '12, 19:01

Michaela's gravatar image


@Michaela -Yes, you are a big reason I asked this question, and I do appreciate you sharing your feminine perspective.:)

I especially appreciated hearing that you had struggled with this once, too. It had begun to seem like I was the only one around not born knowing that you can so easily harm more than help someone when you care a lot about their hurts.

Thank you for your advice. I do look for something I can to share with people that is good - anything. Now, I'm learning to leave it there.

(18 Jul '12, 19:18) Grace

@Michaela - nice answer - it's always good to have both the masculine and feminine viewpoints on any one thread.

(19 Jul '12, 02:34) Catherine

The difference is someone that just wants to feel lousy and have sympathy compared to someone that wants a viable solution. Like when I ask for help I want solutions, "try this or that." "Poor you" does nothing for me.

If someone just wants to hear, "poor you, life is hard" then they don't really want an answer they just want to be comforted. The thing is empowerment, encouragement maybe even "I understand I have been through this and you can too, here is what I did..."

Jai just said a lot just want to whine and complain. They don't really want help, 99% percent of unsolicited advice is not taken. In those cases you can excuse yourself or also listen with love.


answered 18 Jul '12, 17:27

Wade%20Casaldi's gravatar image

Wade Casaldi

edited 18 Jul '12, 22:32

@Wade Casaldi, yes, that is something I've wondered about, people who don't want to feel better.

Those must be the people I bother the very most, I bet.

And goodness knows, I bother a lot of people...:)

(18 Jul '12, 18:19) Grace

@Wade- Nice picture change bro! It suits you! What does the kanji/ writing mean?

(18 Jul '12, 21:02) Nikulas

@Nikulas It means Karate Do (Kara-Te-Do) (Empty Hand Way) Jai helped me and convinced me actually. She said "would you like your icon to look like this instead of that thing on Inward Quest?" I looked at it and said "cool okay yes I would", she showed me how to use Garavtar to change it.

(18 Jul '12, 22:17) Wade Casaldi

@Grace If you bother some people, that is their problem. I like you and am glad you are here, I never considered you a bother. :-)

(18 Jul '12, 22:25) Wade Casaldi

Thank you @Wade Casaldi. What a lovely thing to say. Its so funny, you caught me in a momentary little drop of lonely space. Was rereading Jai's comment to me from the other day again to pick myself up out of it, and found this from you. The two of you are an amazing team.

(19 Jul '12, 11:14) Grace

I want one that is a fairy princess.

(21 Jul '12, 10:03) Fairy Princess

@Fairy Princess here is the web site to make yours. Grace already gave you a good picture to use so I wont bother that part,

(25 Jul '12, 00:32) Wade Casaldi
showing 2 of 8 show 6 more comments

Pity and Compassion as seen from a higher perspective...

I don’t care about what another is doing; I only care about who I’m being. And seeing others move through their life in a completely unaware manner, I do not pity them. That's how much I care about feeling good and my own sense of well-being.

To pity another means that in your view, others should or should not be engaged in those activities or creating their reality in the way they’re doing. Thus pity is a form of arrogance in which you believe you know better than another or that another needs saving by you.

Compassion on the other hand is not pity. You’re aware that those who are unaware will always be creating their own pain and suffering. You understand this, you know this and you also know that it’s their choice and unless invited you do not interfere with their choices.

So compassion is allowing others to be as they are and letting them live their life as they see fit. With a willingness on your part to always be ready to assist them in any way you are called to, in any way that you have the capacity to do so, but only when invited and not otherwise.

And then, over time, you'll notice that those people who're really only looking to feed their pain will drop out of your experience. And the void created by their absence will be filled with those who're genuinely looking for assistance and to improve their lives. And then, together, you can work on that in ways that are self-empowering for everyone involved ♥


answered 20 Jul '12, 03:44

Eddie's gravatar image



@Eddie - Compassion as allowing others to be as they are, with a willingness to assist if invited - that makes good sense to me. Thank you. :)

(23 Jul '12, 11:51) Grace

Another great question Grace.

I think your compassion becomes 'healthier' as you grow spiritually and sensitise to how you feel.Its a purer feeling of compassion with less ego attachment.Anyway feeling empathetic for someone will become more painful for you as well so you wont stay in that feeling place long.As your Awareness increases you will always be in a better place to be in touch with how you feel in the present moment.In time you will be responding to that compassion from a better feeling place which may lead to more positive outcomes.


answered 18 Jul '12, 19:20

Satori's gravatar image


edited 18 Jul '12, 19:37


@Satori, thank you. I can feel it coming on, I really can. You are right, healthier is what it really is.

I feel like I have the abiity to live up to my own expectations as human being, but when you come at it from the right angle, it is so much easier than I ever thought.

Its when you stop fighting darkness and just slow down and shine the light on it, isnt it? I must have read that kind of statement here a hundred times, but you just don't get it, until you just do.

(19 Jul '12, 11:15) Grace

Well said Grace, I agree with that.What you push against you only strengthen:)

(24 Jul '12, 16:09) Satori

I've never really entered the area of pity (as I don't really care to get absorbed by someone else life). And find it very hard to be compassionate at times people grieve. I'm like "Opened to help, yes, I'm here if you need help to improve - come at me, but don't ask for compassion." And by the same token, I hate it when people show sympathy with my bad situation. I'm desperate for solutions, not sympathies. Big difference. Anyone ever tells me they feel compassion for me, makes me want to punch them in the face, because when desperate for solution,you literally see the value of every moment, and there's nothing more aggravating than to see someone taking those moments of your life only to tell you a piece of information that has no helping value whatsoever to your current situation. It's a rage mode after that. As Stingray says, it can lock the person in their unhappy state even more.

If you want to help others, offer them a better perspective of life than they hold at the moment. Preferably by being example of it. To uplift you must live uplifting life. It might be beneficial to understand their position, but only to identify the "bridge" from their place to your place effectively.

In my opinion, there's no need to 'tune in' to their vibrational state at all, feel compassionate or even pitiful only to find out how they feel. It's obvious if they're not laughing their lungs out from joy of living.

It might come off as a little bit cold-hearted, but make no mistake, I've got passion for life, not compassion for it, and I suggest everyone do the same. I don't want compassion be part of my reality at all. That alone I'd find pitiful.


answered 19 Jul '12, 07:33

CalonLan's gravatar image


edited 19 Jul '12, 10:06

Thank you @CalonLan. I appreciate what you said. I don't always have solutions to offer people, so I'm left wondering what I can offer.

(19 Jul '12, 11:19) Grace

It really comes down to the nature of other person's struggle. If a person feels alone, then being with him will help. If he has financial struggle, then showing sympathy won't help. But lending a few bucks might.

It's the action that's real, words are fake. So there's one more question which comes back to us. Why the urge to be part of someone's misery, to show compassion, even though we're not helping at all? Could it be that we are afraid of losing that relationship, if we don't show it?

(20 Jul '12, 01:56) CalonLan

@CalonLan - Yes, I think it certainly could be used as some kind of manipulative aspect of an unhealthy relationship. But for myself, I immediately feel resistance and pressure, just reading those words, which makes me want to run screaming in the opposite direction, so I don't think that is a motive for me personally. I don't tend to want anything at all, but now that you mention it, I really don't know *why * I want so much to help.

(23 Jul '12, 11:50) Grace

@Grace, everything is cause and effect.If the effect is that you feel the need to help, then cause is something unfulfilled within you. If A exists in you then you will see A in others who have it too. You may feel tempted to provide remedy for their A, since in fact you yourself long for it, but you never fix your own A, because you don't recognize it or may not allow the thought of existence within you. I suggest you explore your inner self deeper. Though external assistance might be needed.

(23 Jul '12, 16:31) CalonLan

But there's a vast field of understanding and knowledge that we all have within ourselves. We just need to turn the shuttle upside down and instead of trying to land on the Moon, we should undertake the voyage into our own galaxies.

(23 Jul '12, 16:32) CalonLan
showing 2 of 5 show 3 more comments

@Stingray and @Eddie and @Grace

Just to descibe this "clattering" concept and "pain feeders" with a real life, eye popping example of my own.

I was friends with a kid a grew up with in early years of school, same age, same street address, even same classes (which, in upper school, are not in a students power). We hung out literally every day, with the longest not contacting be three or four days, and shared every precise detail of our personal lives together. Nothing would ever convinse us we would not grow old together. We were as intimate as soulmates. The reason for this emotional bondage was because our friendship was built upon feeding each others pain bodies:

"Got problems?"

"Yep, wanna hear them?"

"I'd love to, then I'd love to tell you about the sadness of my life!"

"Oh my god, that is awesome! You are the best friend! So I got my heart broken the other day......."

A few weeks ago (a long time, just take in the context we hung out every single day), on our most recent physical 'hang out,' I was feeling super good and had a great time just chatting with him. The content of our discussions gradually focused less upon problems, and more upon the facts of life or otherwise I blended in humour. Even if there were a few perceieved 'bad' things he talked about, I couldn't seem to attach myself to it; it did actually seem very boring.

The clattering thing proved itself to me right in the face, when he said something totally unexpected, "Man...Today's been, like, really weird. I feel sort of, strangely uncomfortable." From that day on, either I missed his phone calls or otherwise whenever we did chat, he was also feeling super high. I artifically attempted to prove if vibrational matches authentically worked, and I discovered when I tried to call him, he could never get back to me, even for a few days, until he's on the same wavelength as me.

And attempting to help them is like talking in a foreign, space language. It goes one ear and out the other, and I have tried perhaps hundreds of times. It can seem unfortunante, but I totally resonate with what @Eddie has to say.


answered 24 Jul '12, 20:36

Nikulas's gravatar image


Great observations in a well laid out story my friend :)

(24 Jul '12, 22:21) Eddie

@Nikulas, yes, I recognize that story in my own life. You kinda want to hang on, but then again....meh. Can't really remember why. Oh and the grimacer in my exercise class? Gone! Lol!

(25 Jul '12, 11:42) Grace

@Grace- Yeah, it's funny, because everything on this site really works. I've started a new job about 3 weeks ago, and began with pretty much this boring, lifeless arrogant guy my age. These days, he ain't on the same times I have work!! (different shift times, amazing isn't it?!)

(26 Jul '12, 05:01) Nikulas
showing 2 of 3 show 1 more comments
Click here to create a free account

If you are seeing this message then the Inward Quest system has noticed that your web browser is behaving in an unusual way and is now blocking your active participation in this site for security reasons. As a result, among other things, you may find that you are unable to answer any questions or leave any comments. Unusual browser behavior is often caused by add-ons (ad-blocking, privacy etc) that interfere with the operation of our website. If you have installed these kinds of add-ons, we suggest you disable them for this website

Related Questions