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What's so great about compassion?

First off, what's the definition of compassion? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, compassion is a "sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it."

In other words, you recognize that someone is suffering, and you try to help. And "suffering" doesn't always mean someone is showing outward signs of feeling hurt. EVERY PERSON ON THE PLANET struggles with finding peace and joy and is therefore suffering.

Small acts count as compassion. Here are a few examples of what compassion looks like:

1 - Smiling at a stranger

2 - Giving food to a homeless person

3 - Giving someone the benefit of the doubt

4 - Sending a quick "thinking of you" text message to a friend who is going through a tough time

5 - Having SELF-compassion and not beating yourself up for imperfection

Countless scientific studies indicate that compassion doesn't merely help those who receive the compassion. Practicing compassion makes us happier, healthier and even more attractive. It strengthens relationships, creates communities and fosters world peace.

Visit these links to read more about the power of compassion:

Compassionate Action International:

Charter for Compassion:

The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE):

Kristen Neff, Ph.D., Author of Self Compassion:

Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life:

The Compassionate Mind Foundation:

Christopher Germer, PhD Author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion:

The story of COMPASSION IT:

In the summer of 2008, COMPASSION IT Founder, Sara Schairer, experienced immense suffering. As a stay-at-home mom to her 18-month-old daughter, Sara's 'picture-perfect' life had suddenly turned upside down. She was faced with an unwanted divorce that left her devastated, depressed, searching for a job...and searching for direction.

Fortunately, Sara stumbled upon an "Ellen" episode that changed her life. Ellen was interviewing Wayne Dyer, and he spoke about compassion and how it could change our world. He said that compassion was the most important lesson to teach our children, and that it could solve the problem of hunger, create world peace, and much, much more.

Sara could not stop thinking about compassion and its power. The words "compassion it" came to her that day, and she knew that she was onto something. Compassion was now a verb...an ACTION. She began using that phrase in her own life and found that when she "compassioned it" during her daily interactions, she had the best outcomes.

It took over three years before Sara felt courageous and motivated enough to start sharing her idea with more than just close friends and family. Once she did, the idea started taking shape. Thanks to the help and brilliant work of many friends and a fellowship through the Social Leadership Academy, COMPASSION IT gained momentum.

To further fuel her fire, Sara was accepted into the year-long Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) teacher-training program through Stanford University's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE). During her training at Stanford, she learned about the science and philosophical perspectives of compassion from leaders in the field. As a certified teacher of CCT, Sara facilitates an eight-week course that was designed by Stanford's CCARE. She currently teaches at the UCSD Center for Mindfulness and will soon begin teaching at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego.

Sara is committed to reaching as many people as possible with this simple two-word message, and she believes that "compassion it" is not just a play on words. It's an action and a choice. 'Compassion it' is a way of life.