What does it actually take to be a more caring person?

Developing care and compassion for others is not necessarily something that comes naturally. It cannot be easily taught in a classroom or from lectures. However, being a caring person is an essential life skill for our own character development and to grow into maturity.

This 5 minute video from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, United States powerfully shows what it actually takes to develop a truly caring and compassionate mindset. As you watch it you will see an unexpected and surprising twist in the lives of the subjects portrayed:

The video was first brought to my attention by John Geater who is International Director of PRIME (an international network of professional healthcare educators, committed to integrating rigorous science and compassionate care for the whole person).

Below are John’s observations on the video. While he writes as a doctor, he makes some important universal insights about getting along side others in their suffering and pain. It is also a good reminder to me about my own attitude when I sit with a patient and/or their family or carer.

"So maybe we could make a more conscious effort to look into the eyes of our patients and see something of their journey. We must of course be careful not to jump to conclusions too quickly, and in some cultures we have to be careful of too direct a gaze, but it is remarkable just how much our inner being can relate to another human being. Some people avoid such relationships under the guise of “professional distance” . When I trained 50 years ago I was told we must become hardened to our patients pain otherwise we would burn out. However, the privilege afforded to us in the caring professions of deep relationship with other human beings, even if only for a few minutes, is something that I treasured during my years of practice." 

The video ends with the following summary of what it takes to grow into true maturity and sober judgement

To have felt insensitivity..... is to be more kind.

To have faced fear ..... is to recognise it in the eyes before you.

And to have fought to live ...... is to know how fragile life can be.

If you found the video and this post helpful you may also appreciate the following posts and videos:

What If You Could Read Other People's Minds?

Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering Part 1 and Part 2

Why Does A Loving God Allow Pain and Suffering?

What questions, thoughts and reflections does the video raise for you?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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8 thoughts on “What does it actually take to be a more caring person?

  1. Interesting – isn’t cancer literally the plague of our age? I wonder what will kill most people once “a cure” for cancer is found? That aside, thanks for highlighting the need to demonstrate care.
    Although not a medic I am reassured by the idea that God wants me to love people but he doesn’t expect me to “like” them. Love can be demonstrated in practical ways eg simply by listening. Of course what I have found is that when I have cared (loved) someone God changes my heart and I end up liking them anyway!

  2. its interesting to know how we being to care for others and to truly understand them only after we ourselves have gone through the pain ourselves. I wish we would be more caring even before going thru the pains.

  3. A very insightful video. Yes, I pray that I become more sensitive to people’s hurts. We really do not know what they are going through or where they are coming from. It does not take too much to be kind, a touch, a smile, a word said at the right time… my prayer is: please Lord make us more loving and sensitive to those around us!