The Dalai Lama once said, “One of the secrets of inner peace is the practice of compassion.”
You have likely been taught about the importance of being compassionate since childhood. Most of us have. But for some, compassion isn’t something they feel they owe others. Why give out something you never got? Why step in to help instead of letting them “just deal with it” on their own?
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No one explains the “why” better than David Flood. David is a father and motivational speaker from Top Youth Speakers, an organization filled with people dedicated to inspiring and educating today’s youth on topics ranging from bullying and mental health to leadership and development.
One of the powerful arguments Flood gives is simply that being compassionate is a life-changing attitude. Not only for you, but also for the person receiving it. It’s one of those rare situations where everybody wins. It doesn’t have to be a huge show of kindness. Even the smallest act can change someone’s world. It could be a smile, a simple compliment, or reaching out to someone who’s lonely.
David shares the one moment that made him change his perspective
After a rough childhood of his own, David Flood was invited to speak at the school of his eldest son, Justin, who is 17 years old and has autism.
He begins his speech with the story of when Justin was in middle school. Every day, David would ask him who he ate lunch. And every day, without fail, his son would reply, “I ate alone.”
Not only was his son’s response heartbreaking, but it also brought back old feelings from when David was 13 and asked his father who he was going to eat Thanksgiving dinner with, since he had been thrown out of the house due to his alcoholism. His father replied, “I’ll probably just go and eat at the diner, alone.”
In both cases, David asked himself: Why does anybody have to eat alone?
Reach out and make a difference
The point of David’s story isn’t to make you or anyone feel sorry for his son or his father. The real message is to nudge that familiar feeling of loneliness you may have also experienced at some point in your life. To push you to remember how it felt and recognize when someone near you is lonely and needs to be reached out to.
Don’t you wish someone had come over and made you feel included at that party or during those lonely lunches at work? Now you have the chance to be that person to others. Invite that estranged person to go out somewhere, go talk to the awkward guest who arrived alone. Be that special person you wish you had when you needed them.
David ends his speech by saying, “Watch how your life changes when you care more about others than you care about yourself.”
So make time today to make the world a little brighter for someone. Be kind, be caring, be a better example for everyone around you. You’ll be surprised at how much better your own life becomes.
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