We are more than individuals. We are intricately tied to one another, and when we treat each person we meet with kindness, it is our own hearts we are helping to grow. Here are nine inspired thoughts from different teachers on the power of compassion to heal and strengthen the bonds we share.

1. Compassion is always, always a choice we can make.
The heart is like a garden; it can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?  – Jack Kornfield

2. Compassion benefits not just other people, but ourselves as well.
There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up. – John Holmes

3. Compassion in its most effective form begins with the self.
We must each lead a way of life with self-awareness and compassion, to do as much as we can. Then, whatever happens we will have no regrets. – Dalai Lama

4. Compassion brings out qualities we didn’t know we had.
It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

5. Compassion means fully embracing the person that you are.
To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. – Thich Nhat Hanh

6. Compassion is a ripple that radiates outward.
Be gentle first with yourself if you wish to be gentle to others. – Lama Yeshe

7. Compassion is a key to unlocking our future potential.
We choose our destiny in the way we treat others. – Unknown

8. Compassion is the only gift you can give at all times and places.
Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention. – Jim Rohn

9. Compassion heals what can be healed in no other way.
Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion. – Buddha