Compassion is the key

Sarah - Muncie, Indiana
Entered on March 11, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that compassion is the key to happiness. American Heritage Dictionary defines compassion as, “deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.” I feel that it is more than that. Compassion to me is doing anything you can, even the smallest act, to make another person’s situation better, whether it’s bad to start with or not.

I believe that it is the responsibility of every human being to show compassion to those around them, great and small. Such behavior is contagious. Selfishness breeds selfishness and leads to strife and struggle. Compassion shown to one person encourages and empowers that person to do for another.

I believe that compassion is a gift. No other species is capable of feeling the powerful satisfaction that results from serving another. The Dalai Lama suggests, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.” If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” There is no greater satisfaction in life than that which comes from serving others. Scientific studies even show that helping others increases self-esteem and feel-good hormones, while decreasing stress hormones.

I believe that compassion can change the world and it is up to each and every one of us, you and me, to make it happen. Further advances in technology will not improve the state of our world. Having money, spending money, or saving money will not improve the condition of our lives. Even the United States government cannot create, buy, or force peace and harmony on Earth. But you and I can, through compassion.

I believe that if each day, you and I commit to doing our best to be compassionate toward every other human being we come into contact with, the world will soon be a better place. I challenge you to hold open a door, smile at a stranger, offer a word of encouragement to a friend, and withhold one criticism of another person today. You will be happier and so will those around you. This I believe.