Virtue Assessment: Compassion

Compassion is a virtue that entails empathizing with the suffering of others and taking steps to help alleviate it. This support can be in the form of listening, offering kind words, or providing assistance. When balanced, compassion contributes positively to social bonds and human welfare. However, a deficiency in compassion, known as cruelty, involves coldness or indifference to others’ suffering. In contrast, an excess, referred to as pity, involves becoming overly involved or overwhelmed by others’ suffering, often leading to actions that might not be helpful or could be intrusive. Compassion, when practiced in balance, promotes a sense of shared humanity and fosters supportive communities.

Assessment

Let's measure how you are doing with this particular virtue. Below are 10 questions with five possible answers each. Read each question carefully and choose the best answer. When you’ve answered all the questions, click the “Submit Answers” button. You’ll receive your score, showing how many points you earned as well as an explanation of what it means.

TOO LITTLE BALANCED TOO MUCH -10 -9 -8 -7 -6 -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

This assessment utilizes a scale ranging from -10 to +10, with zero as the midpoint. A score of zero indicates that you possess an ideal balance of this particular virtue. A negative score suggests a deficiency in the virtue, while a positive score indicates an excess. Refer to the paragraphs below for a detailed explanation of your specific score.

  • -10 to -7 | Significant Deficiency. In this state, a person shows a substantial lack of compassion, also known as cruelty. They may ignore the suffering of others, make harsh judgments, or exhibit indifference to others' pain. They may fail to offer help or comfort when they see someone in need, or even contribute to others' suffering. Their actions and attitudes may be seen as heartless or insensitive, creating a barrier between them and those around them.
  • -6 to -3 | Minor Deficiency. In this state, a person shows some deficiency in compassion, though not as extreme as significant cruelty. They might not go out of their way to help others in need, and they might struggle with empathizing with others' suffering. They may avoid uncomfortable situations or emotions rather than providing comfort or assistance. While they might not actively harm others, their lack of compassion may still lead to feelings of disconnect or neglect.
  • -2 to +2 | Balanced. In this balanced state, a person exhibits a healthy level of compassion. They empathize with the suffering of others and take appropriate steps to help alleviate it. This could be through listening, offering kind words, or providing practical help. They neither avoid the pain of others nor become overwhelmed by it, instead meeting others in their suffering with kindness and understanding. Their balanced compassion contributes positively to their relationships and community.
  • 3 to 6 | Minor Excess. In this state, a person exhibits a bit too much compassion, verging into pity. While they clearly care deeply about the suffering of others, their feelings may become overwhelming or they might overstep boundaries in their attempts to help. They might take on too much responsibility for others' problems or become excessively involved in others' lives. While their intentions are usually good, their excess of compassion may inadvertently disempower others or neglect their own needs.
  • 7 to 10 | Significant Excess. In this state, a person has an extreme excess of compassion, resulting in significant pity. They may become so consumed by others' suffering that it affects their own wellbeing. Their attempts to help can be intrusive or disempowering, and they may neglect their own needs and boundaries in their quest to alleviate others' pain. They may experience significant emotional distress due to their excessive compassion, and their actions may cause discomfort or harm rather than help.

Disclaimer: Please note that this assessment is intended for personal reflection and development purposes only. It is not a diagnostic tool and should not be considered as professional psychological advice or guidance. The results are based on the answers you provide and may not capture the full complexity of your character. We encourage you to use the results as a starting point for self-reflection and, if necessary, seek professional advice for any specific concerns you may have. Also, remember that virtues can evolve over time, and this assessment simply reflects a snapshot of your current state.