Compassionate goals. People sometimes feel compassion and want to be supportive (Batson, 1998; Bell & Richard, 2000; Brown & Brown, 2006; Kernis, Brown, & Brody, in press). Of course, people sometimes behave supportively for selfish or self-image reasons (Collins & Feeney, 2000; Feeney & Collins, 2003; Helgeson, 1994; Ryan & Connell, 1989). At times, however, people want to be supportive because they care about others' well-being (Brown & Brown, 2006) , have a prosocial personality (Penner, Dovidio, Piliavin, & Schroeder, 2005; Penner, Fritzsche, Craiger, & Freifeld, 1995) , have a communal relationship with the other (Mills & Clark, 1994) , or because the needs of others are salient (Batson, 1998; Collins & Feeney, 2000; Feeney & Collins, 2003; Rogers, 1971). Crocker & Canevello (2008) refer to goals to be supportive or contribute to others' well-being as compassionate goals. Compassionate goals focus on supporting others, not to obtain something for the self, but because one cares about the well-being of others. When people have compassionate goals they want to be a constructive force in their interactions with others and avoid harming others; they consider others' needs, and the impact of their behavior on others (Crocker & Canevello, 2008).
People who are chronically high in compassionate goals have personality characteristics, views of the self, relationship beliefs and styles, relationship experiences, and emotional states that distinguish them from people who are low in compassionate goals (Crocker & Canevello, 2008). People with compassionate goals report higher spiritual transcendence, feeling that all life is interconnected and sensing shared responsibility of one creature to another; they feel a personal responsibility to other people that extends across generations and within a community. They view their relationships with others as non-zero-sum, assuming that success for one person does not detract from others. They are less entitled, higher in private-self consciousness and self-compassion. Their goals induce calm, positive, other-directed emotions such as love, connection, and empathy. They are less likely to have avoidant attachment styles, and they score higher on the Big 5 personality factors of agreeableness and extraversion.
Compassionate and self-image goals are defined not by content, but by process; specifically, the intentions one has toward others while pursuing important goals. For example, we found that when we asked 199 freshmen about their most important academic goals, nearly every one of them mentioned a GPA they would like to achieve in their first semester. However, these students differed in how much they endorsed compassionate and self-image goals for academics. Compassionate and self-image goals are not opposite ends of a single continuum; in our research the goals are either uncorrelated or positively correlated. Furthermore, although people have chronic levels of these goals over time, the goals fluctuate from week to week, day to day, and even in response to experimental manipulations.
Compassionate and self-image goals can be measured in a variety of domains. Our research has focused on two specific areas: relationships and academics.
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I'm a thinker, dreamer, doer and a strong follower of stoicism. I have a passion to learn and apply that to make the world a better place.