True Definition of Compersion – A Rant

In 2005 I was invited to speak at a polyamory conference.  I was new to the whole concept of ethical non-monogamy, and at that conference I learned and experienced this definition for this word:

Compersion – the joy one feels from witnessing another’s joy.

This moved me so deeply.  We see compersion on children when one kid smiles radiantly while witnessing another kid’s joyful play and fun.  I enjoyed compersion routinely as a coach, when I saw clients go from a place of struggle to a place of freedom – I felt profound joy when I saw them experiencing the joy of their newly discovered freedom.

I thought, “Ohhhhhh…Thank Goodness…the world is learning to tap into a more abundant source of our shared joy and delight…”  I had hope that this word would influence the mainstream and help awaken all of humanity to more of our Divine Hearts, our Christ Consciousness, our Spiritual Essences having a Human Awakening.

But somehow, in the last 10 years, the definition of Compersion on the Internet has become sexualized, twisted, and impacted by flagrant reductionism.

Now when I search for “define compersion” – I get these kinds of definitions:

– The joy a lover feels when his lover is having sex with another.

– A feeling of joy when a loved one invests in and takes pleasure from another romantic or sexual relationship.

– The feeling of joy associated with seeing a loved one love another; contrasted with jealousy.

Wikipedia, For Cripe Sake, in its most brilliant coup of massive irresponsibility that I’ve seen yet, redirects “compersion” to “polyamory”, as if one was synonymous with the other!  JEEZ.

Compersion, people, has Nothing To Do with Sex.  It also has Nothing to do with Polyamory, Jealousy or Relationships.  The term “compersion” came alive in common use in poly circles because people who Love Joy – Feel Compersion – Often.  But that doesn’t make Compersion any more about polyamory than using the word “computer”, which poly folk also use often.

Compersion is about face of Appreciation – anyone who has the capacity to open their heart to appreciate the joy of another human being is capable of experiencing compersion.

One might be standing on a corner, see a total stranger across the street dancing in great joy (see also, Ellen Dance Dares) – and feel compersion – the joy of witnessing the other person’s joy.

One might be babysitting a toddler, see the toddler squeal in happiness over a toy, and feel compersion – the joy of witnessing the toddler’s joy.

One might be with a sibling, talking about his or her passion for photography, and feel compersion – experiencing joy for the sibling’s joy.

“I’m so moved and happy that you’re so happy.”  When this statement is true, it’s a reflection of Compersion.

Yes, it’s true that folks who are living responsible committed plural relationships experience compersion about their Beloveds’ joys – but any monogamous person with emotional maturity will also Experience Joy when their Loved Ones Have Joy.

Compersion can happen in sexual and plural-relationship environments, but Not Only in sexual and plural relationship environments.

So please, folks, let’s stop reducing life and joy to The Sexing and let’s remember the full breadth of our Divine Nature to Appreciate and Love, please?

Compersion – The feeling of profound Joy one experiences while experiencing another human being in Joy.

I hope for all of us to experience more Compersion, Every Day.

Signed,

The Indignant Face of Love

 

 

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5 Responses to “True Definition of Compersion – A Rant”


  1. 1 Jean June 28, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Much appreciation for the distinctions you offer. So many other signifiers are victim of the lack of subtleties. One by one…

  2. 2 katageek August 26, 2014 at 9:29 am

    I fell for the word when I read it in your blog, but there is no major online dictionary I have found that has it. From my guess, “compersion” arose from polyamory – hence it’s association with it. Every search comes up with a reference to polyamory.

    Is there any dictionary definition pre 1960 that has it that you know of? If not, then we need to invent such a word and promote it separate from the Polyamory movement.

    • 3 Gail (Maya-G) Taylor August 27, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      I have not searched dictionaries for it; I heard it while attending a conference. I’m glad it inspires you – lots of folks are already using it (in various ways) so I guess it’s already “invented”. 😉 We’re half way there 😉

  3. 4 Reese P November 22, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Wow. Great post. My mom made me aware of compersion last spring when. She mentioned “doesn.t give you joy to watch your nephew and his team play soccer?!”. What a. Great way to look at it…as a happy witness w empathy…Nice.


  1. 1 Romance, Love, and Self – Noms for the Mind Trackback on July 29, 2017 at 6:53 am

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