We are hard-wired to help
“Once you discover that giving is a selfish passport to life, why not be selfish?” –Eve Branson
Every human being is born with something unique and special to share and give. This became crystal-clear to me on the journey of writing my second book, Soul Models: Transformative Stories of Courage and Compassion. My amazing contributors came from all walks of life, many with no resources at all – and, they not only survived deep challenge, they thrived as a result. The key? When life hit hard, they never gave up – instead, they stepped up to help others, giving meaning to their journey, and creating positive change in the world along the way. Soul Models gave me great insight into the true Power of Compassion, and I learned something incredible from writing each story. And, in sharing that book with the world, my own life opened up in remarkable ways.
Science has now proven why compassion is so transformative: According to the latest research, we are born with an instinct for compassion that is tied to survival and has Darwinian origins. Compassion is an evolved part of human nature, rooted in our brain and biology. In fact, “compassionate action” improves our health: it triggers the brain’s pleasure center, releasing the same endorphins we get from eating. It’s called the “giver’s high,” boosts our well-being and immune systems, lowers stress hormones, and possibly even extends our lives. According to Dacher Keltner, author, “Born to be Good” and founding director of the Greater Good Science Center, research suggests that, “Compassion is an innate human response embedded into the folds of our brains.”
Everyone – beginning with ourselves – benefits from compassion. Not only does it come naturally, it can be expressed in simple, infinite and beautiful ways.
“Compassion” means anything, big or small – holding a door open for a stranger, listening to another human being, doing something wonderful with children or elders, jumping on a cause, or simply being your own best friend.
Compassionate Action heals: it gets us out of our own heads, is a respite from stress, opens the doors of reciprocity, gives us a deep sense of deep purpose, and improves the entire world. There is no greater feeling than helping others – pass it on, and watch your world transform.