The Caregiver Compassion Quotient–What’s Your CQ?

By Patty Kearns

(Editor’s Note: On a regular basis, we invite healthcare professionals and family caregivers to write a guest blog. We asked Patty Kearns, who cared for her mom until her mom’s death last year, to share her thoughts about a concept to share her thoughts about a concept she’s been thinking about lately–the Caregiver Compassion Quotient (CQ) and how it can help us reduce our stress.)

It’s no coincidence that millions of our national family caregivers have been Leading by Compassion as we struggle to rebuild our economy and our world…

First it was I.Q., then it was E.Q. (Emotional Intelligence)…and now,
through our Caregivers, it’s the Compassion Quotient (CQ) that can give us
the confidence to keep moving forward.

What’s the connection between family caregivers and the world financial crisis? The two may be more closely linked than we could have imagined. In order to pull ourselves through this widespread financial crisis we’re in, we know we’ll need to make sacrifices and work together. Sounds like caregiving, which takes a lot of empathy and Compassion.

Sourcing the Power to Do: Out of the age-old story of Love vs. Fear, it’s our Compassion that stirs within us the necessary confidence. With Fear and pessimism, we’re frozen. With Love, we put ourselves forth to the task. Isn’t confidence exactly what is needed in an economic downturn?

Our Compassion leads us through the darkness to meet the day’s needs for our families. Like the woman who hoists up the car to save the baby, it’s CQ–isn’t it–that keeps us from the brink? This same life-saving instinct can bolster the muscle to bail us out. Certainly, we can endure a multitude of endless inconveniences and exhausting restrictions: caregivers are the pros. It’s our Compassion–or the lack of it–that makes or breaks us.

The Compassion Quotient is the spiritual component that offers you an art that can be practiced. In the worst of times, the higher your CQ, the better you feel. It strengthens your spirit! CQ eases caregiver turmoil (mental.) It helps dissolve stress (emotional.) It makes the hapless unending work load seem somehow possible if not lighter (physical.) Compassion beckons us to Be and to Become. For time-starved caregivers who are pushed to the max, a healthy level of CQ takes determination to maintain. Yet, is there a caregiver who wouldn’t benefit?

The Hidden Bailout:
Family caregivers are living proof that Compassion can be quantified. Caregivers make up the largest-growing volunteer group in our country. In the face of disaster, America’s volunteer spirit has long been a beacon for our troubled planet. As our population continues to age, all of us will be needing care…or providing it. More than 54+ million caregivers are a prime example of an abiding love. Selflessly–and without pay–behind the scenes they provide ‘round-the-clock care to their loved ones FOR FREE.

According to Eric Joice, Executive Director of The Family Resource Network, this army of advocates is saving taxpayers a stunning $375 BILLION dollars! That’s more than half of our financial bailout package of $700 billion dollars!

Compassion by the Billions: Therein lies massive quantify-able CQ! To preserve the human race, we must take care of each other. Caregivers do that, but they need our immediate support, respite and resources to keep going: the care of the largest aging population in our nation’s history is upon us.

Here’s to Their Health–and Ours: It’s our compassion that defines us. The greed, loopholes, and economic land mines that dash parents’dreams for their children: that’s not the language of CQ. Compassion leans closer to tell us dearer stories–not the horrors in the news that rob us of our sleep. Without kind care and thoughtful good neighboring, life doesn’t work very well, nor is it happy. Right here, right now in our communities we have the power to select wholesome options for our families. What if our self interests were driven by the need for some cost-effective inner peace? The consequences of our impaired immune systems are rampant and cause severe adverse effects. Choosing Compassion–at home, in our supermarkets, on our highways– would soothe our souls, dissolve our stress, and smooth our paths safely toward better physical and financial health.

The Old Model and the New: Economic change will come through two of our national treasures: our old-fashioned ingenuity, and our remarkable blend of cultures and ideas. Raised on Compassion–not home grown hate–we’ll earn the pride of lifting ourselves up and out. Know that each of us–combined–will make the powerful difference as we take action to rebuild, re-think, re-define, reorganize, recycle, re-purpose, refinance, reconstruct, and reinvent our priorities.

But it takes higher energy than mere Change. Transformation is what shifts us from existing views or limits into a whole new realm–the dramatic difference. Infinite and expansive, CQ alters our former perception of what can be.

With Possibility Thinking like CQ, we boldly access something beyond what previously stopped us in our tracks. We gain sudden clear insights that zoom us past our comfort level toward amazing leadership, innovation, and unprecedented abundance. We actually now face Possibilities of measuring our legislation, our work–our thoughts–by their ability to transform.

The Shift to CQ: Within lies the transformational shift toward Compassion that frees us from the terrifying panic of Fear–the great destroyer of wellness and fortunes. Adversity itself walks us straight to the larger picture: like the caregivers, we’ll be moved to our grandest accomplishments by the very need for our love.

Today we have this actual turning point for turnaround. The nations of the world are learning financially how much we need each other. What we really need is the guts to muster all the CQ we can get…strategically-focused, unifying, stress-defying, contagiously-healing, health-cost-reducing, community-action kind of Compassion. CQ instinctively knows that all the wrongs have hurt too many, and that any kind thing done with goodwill can surely offer some ease.

What’s your CQ? For caregivers, growing in Love is the highest lesson, a divine calling. The sacred unconditional protection of another–caregiving–requires an unfathomable endurance that moves us boldly beyond self to the place where everything truly is fine. Caregiving–the opposite of terrorism–is fueled by Compassion, the engine of the great human change agents for feeding the hungry, curing insidious diseases, and keeping our planet and its inhabitants safe. But we hesitate, because CQ calls us to embrace the challenge of our lifetime armed with the intangible.

The glorious swell that turns the tide: Remember, when taking action in a crisis, it’s intelligent (I.Q.) –and a sign of leadership–to have mastery over your emotions (E.Q.) Such composure turns up your power to leap to the something more–the indefinable edge that can make all the difference in the world: (your CQ). Compassion is the signature of enlightened team building, sure to inspire. That’s the most appealing element of your CQ, the way you rescue others from trouble with such devotion.

How can you raise your Compassion Quotient? For caregivers, every hour harbors its challenges. But CQ has the advantage–a healing energy field all its own. Do you want a healthy feeling of Resilience…under any condition? It may simply be a question of how close you are to the quality conclusion about Becoming a Loving Presence. You’re making the connection when your idea about Having More Patience changes into Becoming a Loving Presence. Become a Loving Presence.

When we hold the best interests of all at heart, it stretches us to ever-nobler purpose. With CQ, you can streamline your every effort to create relief from desperation while growing stronger in the balance. And, what a useful tool for coping with the behaviors: who needs anger management when you’re responding with sincere concern!

Become a Loving Presence–and spread little daily pockets of unspeakable calm to your family and world. Then model a forgiving courtesy to any who can’t yet grasp how. CQ is a spiritual paradox perfectly aligned with immutable universal laws. It works one-on-one or en masse. Selfless higher love of one another (CQ) is both the spark that ignites transformation–and the transformation itself.

Try it. Practice merciful CQ everywhere you can–and with great tenderness–as if your wellness and our unaffordable healthcare system depended on it. They do. We have not yet mastered the control of our stress, but we can pull each other along. Therein lies the secret to our health, wealth and happiness. As we’re comforted, our spirits rise, solutions become apparent…and a nation allows itself to heal.

If you need a reminder of the goodness all around, think of the vast numbers of caregivers in our own hometowns who give their lives to provide ‘round-the-clock care while everybody else is sleeping. Leading by Compassion, they co-create a dramatic difference with their incalculable CQ and its remarkable benefits. These days everybody wants good benefits.

Whatever we focus on is what we have. Filled with CQ, we’d always have more to give–a great fix for any downturn. As Humanity evolves, we’ll savor with delight how our confidence and abundance keep growing in proportion to the more we care. Each time we acknowledge a fear and prefer instead the indomitable spirit of immeasurable love, we’ll be choosing the essential indicator of our next true success.

P.M. Kearns is author of LESSONS IN THE DIVINE FOR CAREGIVERS, a primer on empathy building and compassion. Browse Patty’s book at Patty was one of’s 2007 Caregiver of the Year winners.

P. M. KEARNS is author of LESSONS IN THE DIVINE FOR CAREGIVERS© and creator of REMOVING NEGATIVE THOUGHTS© programs and CDs for dissolving stress. Find out how you can bring a Spiritual Buffet for The Totally Exhausted to your group or organization with speaker events, book signings, and programs for spirit building and accelerated productivity through a healthier, more peaceful inner life.

Join Patty and Denise for a special discussion about CQ on Your Caregiving Journey on Wednesday, April 29, at 8 p.m. Central. You can listen live here.

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4 Comments on "The Caregiver Compassion Quotient–What’s Your CQ?"

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Apr 22, 2009

I loved your phrasing that we can “embrace the challenge of our lifetime armed with the intangible.” What a perfect description of caregiving. When you really Get that as a caregiver, life can get emotionally simpler. I think that is because compassion opens us. With compassion, we can resist less. Resistance brings pain. What we resist persists, but allowance frees us up to change. To embrace new possibilities (as you say). Allowing circumstances to be what they are. Allowing people to be who they are. Allowance comes from compassion. It’s the resistance of circumstances and behaviors that keeps us stuck in pain. When I can accept that a person simply is who (s)he is, I can get on with the business of caregiving AND taking care of myself.

Peggy Winters
Apr 23, 2009

Thanks for your encouragement. There just seems to be constant care & I try to be creative & deal with things on a day to day basis. It is a challenge even with positive people to deal with.

Patty Kearns
Apr 24, 2009

Just allow your beautiful Compassion to smooth your emotions and protect you–as well as your care recipient–from the stress. Every time we fill ourselves up with Compassion, we leave no space for being upset. CQ is so disarming! It halts the escalation! Focus on your CQ and go to that better place. The comfort of it is always there for you, right inside.

Nov 2, 2009

I admire your way of thinking and sharing it to those who badly needed a word of encouragement. This kind of articles/blogs should be viewed by many individuals sufferings from different life struggles.