Compassion is the key to building happiness out of misery. Awareness recognizes misery, breathing brings us back to the present moment, and compassion transforms the moment. Compassion is a sense that nobody deserves to be miserable and a recognition that sometimes we are. When we feel miserable, we understand how difficult and painful life can seem. If we fight against our misery it becomes like quicksand and sucks us under. If instead of struggling, we recognize our miserable circumstances and remember that compassion is the key to transforming the situation, then we can begin to work with what we have to make way for happiness.
Compassion is bigger than us. It connects us to every other being that experiences the turmoil of life’s ups and downs. When we feel the sting of suffering, we have the opportunity to understand how everybody suffers just as we do. When we feel hopeless and alone in the depths of our misery, compassion connects us to others and helps us recognize that we are not alone. Compassion often comes to us from others as they support us through our hard times. By practicing compassion for others and receiving compassion from others, we find a productive use for our most difficult feelings.
As we get better at being compassionate, we can learn how to use our skills to engage with people and things that we don’t like as much. When we find ourselves in conflict with others and they drag us down into the range of negative feelings, such as resentment, fear, rage, guilt, or disgust, our compassion will be there to help us deal with those feelings. Compassion connects us with each other and heals wounds. Although it flows naturally, it is also an acquired skill, which when practiced regularly, benefits everybody.