Compassion is the thread that connects us all and the holidays are a fine time to lend a hand, listen closely and share what we've got plenty of. (You don't want the whole pie, now, do you?)
When someone unexpectedly pays us a compliment or does us a good turn, it evokes a feeling akin to the first stirrings of love—a weightlessness and joy that make all problems suddenly seem like possibilities. We begin to believe that no matter how much pain others have inflicted on us, goodness is still possible, compassion exists, selflessness hasn't been forgotten. And the more kindness others bestow upon us, the more we want to pass on some of our own.
Each time we extend ourselves to another, we are also reminded of how we are inextricably linked to our friends, our neighbors, even to those we dislike. "We cannot live only for ourselves," the great writer Herman Melville once said. "A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects." That's why a generous, gracious deed has the power to transform us—when we show kindness to others, we become the beneficiary of our own love and care.
During the holidays and throughout the coming year, as you perform large and small kindnesses, know that you are sending compassion into the world, and that your efforts can absolutely change one person...who can change another...who can change another.... To discover 35 acts of kindness you can pass on, learn how to deal with another person's anger and find another way to connect with all the people in your life, pick up a copy of O, The Oprah Magazine.
Printed from Oprah.com on Monday, December 9, 2013