Many people deal with tough situations in their lives. While these can certainly make life miserable in some ways, they can also be used to allow us to have more compassion for others going through their own struggles. After all, it is easy to say, "Just keep your chin up," without a thought if we have not faced our own challenges.
While I am sure I can lack compassion in some areas, my experience in the adoption arena (see Brad on Adoption, my blog on that topic, for more details) has definitely given me more compassion for those going through their own adoption struggles.
An interesting outcome is that I am less tolerant of those who claim to understand what I am going through because they faced (or face) struggles with their own grown children. While some things are similar, many things are different when someone else can be legitimately called "dad" in your place. That changes the equation greatly.
I suppose I need to watch my own compassion in that case. I have been trying to not argue how I am different in those cases and just focus on being friendly, but it can be challenging to not just shot off, at the least. How ironic that compassion gained in one area reduces it in another.
Something to think about whenever you think you are becoming compassionate. Check that your compassion for one thing doesn't become intolerance for another!