This is a guest blog by USA Today Bestselling author Ann Major.
What’s in it for me?
I hate to admit it but I’m selfish. In making decisions I often ask myself three questions: do I have to do this? do I want to do this? is this good for me?
At the same time, I work very hard to be compassionate. Why?
Because it’s good for me. Not just good for me, but vital for my well-being and survival. Watch any disaster story, and you will see heroes braving horrible dangers to save all. We are wired to help others because on their own, humans are extremely vulnerable. Our race depends on us helping each other. That is why I believe compassion is a basic human trait that we ignore at our own risk
Humans are tribal. We want to belong and connect with others. Alone, we know we are too vulnerable and weak to survive. We hate to be shunned. I once read that babies in English nurseries during World War II who were loved by a caregiver thrived while those who were simply fed and diapered didn’t.
I write romance novels because I believe in the power of love and connection and that compassionate connection is vital. I believe that without love and compassion, the world would be a much darker place. Every novel I ever write always has loneliness as a theme.
Below I will list fifteen selfish reasons it’s smart to be compassionate:
- Helping others will make YOU happier.
- Buying things for others will make you happier than buying things for yourself.
- It will make you more attractive to both sexes and, therefore, sexier. Hey, being sexier is a major plus to a romance writer.
- Your kind actions make other people happier. Therefore, by being kind, you can improve your relationships with those around you.
- It is contagious. If you’re nice, you will be amazed by how much nicer others will be to you.
- It helps alleviate depression. If you’re sad, help someone sadder. You will feel better, I promise.
- It boosts health and longevity. It lowers stress hormones and strengthens the immune response.
- It’s good for the environment.
- Strangely, doing for others makes you feel like you have more time.
- It is an inborn trait, built in to you for your survival, and you will feel bad if you don’t help others—because you sense you need them just as much as they need you.
- It is a great trait in a leader because compassion builds bridges. You will inspire your team to work harder if you listen and appreciate their ideas.
- A good leader listens, seeks to understand and be supportive, and then figures out what’s best to do.
- In a stressful situation, a good leader who is calm, can smooth things over, so better decisions can be made.
- When mistakes are made, a good leader brings compassion to the moment. By not rushing to punishment, he can better repair the situation.
- Leadership is not all taking action. It is not simply the solution. It is a strength inside you that gives you confidence to lead and reassure. If you are in a compassionate positive state, you and your team will make better decisions.
My latest book, Golden Man, centers around a small town bad boy, who’s always longed to belong, and the preacher’s daughter who’s secretly loved him her entire life. The central conflict has to do with the townspeople’s inability to feel compassion for the hero, and the heroine’s fear to express her compassion for fear of the town’s disapproval. She doesn’t want to be shunned.
Compassion is always always a centerpiece in my novels