Friday, March 1, 2013

Having an Awesome Life: Lesson #3, Passion for Compassion

One of the best things that you can do in life is to focus on other people from time to time.  This has a multitude of benefits, including three important ones which are immediately apparent.

1.  It takes your mind off of whatever is wrong with your life. When you think of people who are less fortunate than you, what comes to mind?  People without food or clothes?  Folks who have no internet?  People whose problems are so overwhelming to them that they can't get out of bed in the morning?  Sick kids and adults?  Try zooming out and putting your own problems into a new perspective.

2.  It makes you appreciate what you do have.  Sure, there are people who have it better than you.  But plenty of folks have it worse, too.  Try not to be too envious of "luckier" people; you never know what lurks beneath their smiles.  There are plenty of people who'd trade lives with you in a second.

3.  By practicing compassion, you may feel compelled to help make a difference.  And the difference benefits multiple parties.  You feel great for helping someone else, but even more importantly, even a small gesture of compassion can make a major difference to someone else.

I'd also like to add that realizing not everything is about you all the time is also just the plain-old right thing to do.   There are billions of people in the world, and we all have a back story which includes good stuff and bad.  It takes courage to zoom out and look at the big picture, so try to be brave and do it every now and again.

Get busy!  Run through your house and donate your old clothes, that chair you like but never use, the spare "doubles" of things you don't need anymore.  You'll be de-cluttering your living space, and helping someone else at the same time:  Win-win!  Volunteer to cook a meal and bring it to a local shelter -- invite your friends and make it a party!  Karma points for all, a great time that people will be talking about for months to come, and full bellies for those in need.  Another win-win!  Visit your favorite old person; be their hero for the day and give them lots of much-needed hugs.  Raise awareness for a cause that you care about.  Write a letter to your representatives about something that you'd love to improve.  Go click on The Hunger Site and allow a corporation to match your click with food for someone in need.  Adopt a pet, a highway, or a child.  Even with limited time and money, you always find ways to make the world -- and your corner of it -- a better place. 

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