Many generous and caring people have been through rough times at some point in their lives.

They can empathize with people who suffer because they know what it’s like to suffer. They are strong because their mind and bodies have been strengthened by their own misfortunes. They know that life sometimes isn’t fair, but that strong and caring people can sometimes make it so. And they understand that receiving a helping hand when you need it most is a sign of deep caring, and that the intent and effort may matter even more than the end result.

Tough times test us. It’s easy to stay true to your values and do the right thing under normal circumstances. But during hard times, this becomes much more challenging. Stress and pain can put immense pressure on our morals and our sanity, and often the only true way out is to find some kind of meaning, a reason that gives us enough strength to endure the pressure. Once we find this reason, it becomes a part of us for the rest of our lives.

That reason is usually love. Not just romantic love, of course, but a deep sense of caring about another person, such as a family member or a friend. And once you weather the storm, and the pressure subsides, this incredible amount of love starts overflowing. You become a much more caring person, not just towards the people you’re normally close with, but even people you’ve just met. You become much more empathetic and compassionate because you’ve experienced the whole spectrum of emotions, from deep suffering to overflowing love.

And this makes you instantly close to anybody, including a stranger you’ve just met. And if you look at that stranger’s eyes and see even a small hint of sadness, your love will inspire you to lend a helping hand.