Why Compassion Toward Others Has to Start With Self-Care
Showing yourself compassion is a key component to self-care; in fact, a recent survey from Dignity Health, one of the largest hospital systems in America, says that lacking self-kindness can be as detrimental to your health as eating poorly or not exercising enough. While more than two-thirds of respondents say they made the resolution to exercise more in 2018, data shows that less than half resolved to be kinder to themselves. It also shows that this lack of love extends beyond just ourselves.
According to the Dignity Health survey, which counted 1,001 US adults (half men and half women, aged 18-75), it concluded that we’re not always kind to the people we love. Despite 72 percent of people who agree that it’s easier to be kinder to others than themselves, a whopping 83 percent of respondents said they wish they would’ve been more kind to their S.O. in the past month; even more, 72 percent say they could’ve been more kind to a friend.
Why is this? Dr. Pamela Davis, who practices family medicine, explains that feelings of self-doubt, disappointment, and everyday stress can get in the way of showing love and care. So she reminds us, for good reason, that it’s v. important to spread kindness externally. “Self-care, respect, and compassion are all necessary attributes of self-love,” she explains. “If a person practices self-compassion, they are more likely to have compassion for others.”
Dr. Davis also suggests that the ability to practice self-care isn’t always innate — especially when you’re out of the habit of doing so. “People are not always taught or encouraged to practice self-kindness; the overall pressures of social media, school, work, and society can also deter us from taking a moment to stop and self-reflect,” she notes. “We learn to measure our successes against others instead of considering our own personal positive progress and growing from that. We can learn a lot from children about how to treat others with the same compassion and consideration we would want for ourselves — self-compassion drives a ripple effect of kindness, and without it, we can’t ever fully be compassionate toward others.”
The silver lining to it all? Just about everyone who answered the poll noted that they see kindness as infectious, inspiring them to do something good for themselves or others when they see other people doing the same. So consider that our cue to go call Mom or give our BFF a hug.
How do you show yourself and the people you love compassion? Tell us on Twitter @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)