If you have a sense of caring for others, you will manifest a kind of inner strength in spite of your own difficulties and problems. With this strength, your own problems will seem less significant and bothersome to you. By going beyond your own problems and taking care of others, you gain inner strength, self-confidence, courage and a greater sense of calm. This is a clear example of how one's way of thinking can really make a difference.
One's own self-interest and wishes are fulfilled as a byproduct of actually working for other sentient beings. As the well known fifteenth-century master Tsongkhapa points out in his Great Exposition of the Path to Enlightenment, 'The more the practitioner engages in activities and thoughts that are focused and directed toward the fulfillment of others' well-being, the fulfillment or realization of his or her own aspiration will come as a byproduct without having to make a separate effort.'
...we find that kindness and a good heart form the underlying foundation for our success in this life, our progress on the spiritual path, and our fulfillment of our ultimate aspiration, the attainment of full enlightenment. Hence, compassion and a good heart are not only important at the beginning but also in the middle and at the end. Their necessity and value are not limited to any specific time, place, society or culture.
Thus, we not only need compassion and human affection to survive, but they are the ultimate sources of success in life. Selfish ways of thinking not only harm others, but they prevent the very happiness we ourselves desire. The time has come to think more wisely, hasn't it? This is my belief."
from "The Compassionate Life" by Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
Snow Lion Publications