Some people are born with a compassionate spirit. Others develop compassion as they go through life. Pain and suffering bring attention to it very quickly. Going through a difficult time often elicits a compassionate response from friends and loved ones. It also offers an opportunity to check yourself for how much compassion you express in your life. Once you have gone through a devastating experience you have a whole new perspective on life.
If you stay open and are willing to learn, compassion becomes the lesson. The more compassion you express in your world, the better it becomes.