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   WZM Award for Compassion 


WZM Award


WZM Award presented on
May 8, 2014 to Hector Benitez - Garfield High School







“Is it better to be loved or love oneself?” –Adam Sandler

To love, enjoy and accept yourself is a task that some can never achieve. However, if accomplished I believe you have fulfilled the meaning of true peace and harmony within yourself and the world. You’ve accepted your flaws and perfect imperfections (quoting John Legend) and understand that there are people on this Earth that are exactly like you.

The task of inner acceptance is difficult and cannot be achieved within the teenage years of your life. I am 18 years of age and I have accepted who I am, I understand that I am imperfect in a variety of ways. For instance, I am easily recognizable because of my abnormally large ears. This does attract attention to me and I have been bullied due to my “difference”. For years I believed the Almighty had cursed me to walk amongst His children to be made the joke of His creations; however, once I accepted my humorous trait I understood that there are third world countries that are unable to eat, sleep, and breathe as comfortable as I do. So if I am able to make others smile, unfortunately with my ears then so be it, I am fulfilling my purpose; to spread cheer and joy with the world. With this acceptance, I am at peace with myself and the world, acknowledging that my struggle is a pebble in the mountain compared to those who are less fortunate than me.

Once gaining inner peace, earning compassion follows. Sympathy and compassion are two opposite emotions and actions. Sympathy revolves around pity with no intention to relieve that person in distress; however, compassion is an understanding of the situation and an incentive to remove the pain of someone who is suffering. Compassion is rare to find because people are unaware that they pity people consecutively. On April 3rd, 2013 I was in an accident where I had lost short term and long term memory. I was unable to function probably, talking and walking were given but I had no recollection of who my parents, siblings, and friends were. I was unable to identify who the boy in the mirror was. I cried every night because I was unable to find an opening to this never ending tunnel, unable to comprehend why my mother continued to say “I love you”; was it pity or compassion? I realized that her love and faith was sincere and she was compassionate towards me, not only as a mother but as a friend. I began to see others; relatives, schoolmates, teachers, teammates, coaches. I gained the understanding, because I flourished with this. I knew that my coaches and friends that constantly visited me; they desired to be there while I recovered even if I had no idea who they were.

My life has allowed me to understand compassion and peace, accepting my inner beauty and assistance of others when I believed I had none.



Ruth Ratna Handy, LCSW
(818) 834-5925


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