Wiktionary defines “compassion” as:
“Deep awareness of the suffering of another, coupled with the wish to relieve it“
The first part of compassion is the awareness, understanding, or knowledge of the suffering, pain or misery. The second is to have a desire, wish, or want to do something about it.
There are times when even an apathetic person like me can understand the suffering of another. However, this alone means nothing if I do not know what I can do to solve the problem. Like anyone else, I have limits to the time and money that I can use to help someone who has a need. When I give money, I want it to give it to a person or cause that is effective, efficient, or relevant.
This is why I chose to sponsor a child through Compassion International. $38 does not last long in the United States of America, but when given to those in poor countries, it can provide food, clothing and education for a month.
My opinion is that compassion requires thinking. To be effective, I must use my brain to solve a problem. This often means that my own personal feelings about a situation can sometimes be irrelevant, but that the difference I can make can be more relevant than it would if I based my actions on emotion without reason.