In both Western and Tibetan cultures, having a big heart is associated with generosity, kindness, warmth, and compassion. In Tibetan culture, a person with a big heart is also someone with the ability and courage to hold even the most painful truths in his or her heart without becoming despondent.
During difficult times my mother used to say, "You need to make your heart big enough to hold a horse race inside." Working with difficulties in a compassionate way doesn't necessarily mean we can resolve them. Samsara, by its nature, can't be fixed. It can only be worked with and transcended — which means seen-through.
A traditional Buddhist image of compassion is that of an armless woman watching her only child being swept away by the raging torrent of a river. Imagine the unbearable anguish at not being able to save your child — and not being able to turn away! In the practice of Bodhichitta, this is the unconditional compassion we try to cultivate toward all sentient beings, even if we're unable to truly help them until we ourselves become free.
The willingness to not turn away from our anguish as we reflect on the suffering of samsara is the bodhissatva path. This path is possible only because we have seen that the true nature of suffering is egoless, or empty. Not turning away from suffering doesn't mean "toughing it out." It means that, having seen the true nature of suffering, we have the courage to encounter suffering joyfully.— Dzigar Kongtrul, It's Up to You