What is compersion?


As I sit, enjoying a tree stump sofa and smiling at strangers passing by, I realize that smiles are incredibly infectious. Not just in the fact that they are often reciprocated, but also the rush of pleasure it gives to be smiled at. I notice that it feels the same as the happiness I get when I see a loved one being loved by someone else.

Is this compersion? This free non-verbal expression of happiness? This social bonding? I would be very curious to know my changes in oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin during these brief exchanges, though that would be an interesting thing to know for an objective view on this, It might not effect how one would go about experiencing it.
If the feeling really is identical to the one I am experiencing now, then it begs the question of whether compersion is simply a name given to another more general feeling, but only in a specific circumstance… and if that is true, what stops most people from experiencing compersion when they can and do experience joy from seeing friends and family happy?

Before I go off on a wild philosophical goose chase about this, it’s probably best to do some research… so to throw the question out there to you first:

If you have ever experienced compersion, does it feel any different from the feeling of joy from seeing a close friend or family member being loved?

If you have never experienced compersion and have had multiple-partner relationships, have you ever experienced a feeling of joy from watching another being loved?

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