“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
– Dalai Lama, 1935-present
It is a seemingly simple statement with straightforward advice, but it is also one that many of us have such a hard time implementing. In the quest for our own happiness, I think that we too easily forget the happiness of others. This becomes a problem because if we live in a world where everyone is only concerned about themselves, their own personal gains at the expense of others, and separate or competing interests from those around them, then it doesn’t seem likely that anyone could ever be happy.
However, when we try to understand the people around us more, and feel empathy towards them or show tolerance even when we do not understand fully why they do the things that they do, then suddenly our own lives improve because our lives are no longer consumed with getting angry at the driver who cut us off on the highway, resenting the boss whom we believe treated us unfairly, or complaining about the woman holding up the line at the grocery store. If we understand that other people may have a bad day from time to time and that our reaction to them has the power to change not only our experiences, but their experience, and the experiences of all the other people who they come into contact with for the rest of that day, then our own happiness is inevitable. We can enjoy our trips in the car, be proud of our careers, and be happy about our purchases in a store. It is a small difference for each of us to make, but it has a very large return.
If we each do these things consistently and genuinely, then it doesn’t seem likely that anyone could ever be unhappy. ~ Melissa 🙂