Here's a pithy quote from Pema Chodron:
The inconceivable wish to help all sentient beings always begins with oneself. Our own experience is the only things we have to share. Other than that, we can't pretend to be more awake or more compassionate than we actually are. Much of our realizaation comes from the honest recognition of our foibles. The inability to measure up to our own standards is decidedly humbling. It allows us to empathize with other people's difficulties and mistakes.