Ultimately, love and compassion are all you need. If it is your nature to help other people to feel good about themselves, you cannot help but feel good about yourself.

But this isn’t a “nicey-nicey” or “fluffy” kind of thing, per se. Anything but.

If someone is deeply stuck, the most loving and compassionate thing you can do for them is to help them to get unstuck. And if this takes being nasty and horrible to get them to realise that how they are operating in life is not acceptable – to them, more than anything – so be it. If it takes slapping them in the face – metaphorically, or literally – to get them to wake up to their true magnificence, so be it.

And, sometimes, it is necessary to be really, really gentle and tender: to cradle them like you would a kitten who has a broken leg.


It is in our inherent nature to be loving and compassionate. Well, even the most cranky and irascible will remember a time when, perhaps reluctantly, they were forced to help others. And this will raise a quiet smile of satisfaction.

“Yeah, that’s great, but human beings are selfish, by nature …”

Yes, and there is enlightened self-interest. This is why Mother Theresa and Florence Nightingale did what they did. Because tending to the poor and the wounded made them feel good. Which was certainly in their self-interest.

And the same goes for you and me. So be deeply, deeply selfish: help others to help yourself.

So, given that everyone wants to feel great about themselves, and, as we have established, the best way of feeling great about one self is to be great to others, you would think that the political system would be devoted to the advance of love and compassion. That the media would spread this message far and wide.

No? That must mean that, as things are, people feel just great! That they don’t need to do anything – like being loving and compassionate – to feel great!

Walk down any high street and you can see it in their happy, smiling faces, alright …

The fact is that many are crying out for an opportunity to feel useful and helpful, but they are deeply cynical. “If I help others will it really make any difference?”, “Will they take advantage of my generosity?”

While others would help, if they weren’t so afraid of just being with people; if they didn’t think that everyone was out to get them.

More so, true compassion starts with yourself. If you have no compassion for yourself, how can you have it for others?

Forget history, geography and PE – love and compassion should be THE integral part of any school curriculum.

© Phillip A. Klein March 2008

Published in: on March 13, 2008 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment