- The inner processes that make compassion possible arose from the evolutionary advantage of caring for others, especially offspring, kin and inÇÉgroup allies. This paper explores issues in defining compassion and its link to similar concepts such as altruism. It also explores compassion as a social motive and social mentality that choreographs social interactions and how the successful enactment of compassion is dependent on certain competencies such as sympathy, empathy, perspective taking, and distress tolerance (among others), as well as social contexts. As a motivational system, compassion has to compete with other socially choreographed motives, such as tribalism and individualistic competitivenessÇömuch darker sides of the human psyche that have been harmful in human history. One of the challenges for compassion is to explore not only how it can promote personal wellÇÉbeing but also how it can counteract the destructive sides of our other motives and social mentalities.