I’m sure we can all recall the many times in our childhood we were told to treat people the way we would like to be treated. Do unto others. It made a great deal of sense, it still does, and made us all (hopefully) more socially responsible and more polite human beings.
But somewhere along the path of treating others with respect and courtesy we may have drained our personal well of kindness and empathy and saved very little compassion for ourselves. We spend so much time worrying about how we treat others that we fail to treat ourselves with the same dignity that we would impart to a stranger.
It is instinctual to be concerned for others, to help those who need our help, but how often do we reflect on our own needs and drink from our own well of compassion? We need our own help just as much as others may count on us for support. There is a vast difference between wallowing in self-pity and allowing yourself a few moments to feel the pain of what is bothering you, to process it and to understand that giving yourself time to heal is, not just okay but, a necessity.
We need to do unto ourselves and give the same common courtesy to ourselves that we were taught to give others. To do anything less would be a grave injustice. As Buddha so wisely says, it would make us incomplete. Denying ourselves that level of self-compassion makes us unworthy of being able to understand the message behind the emotion and renders us unable to truly share the gift of empathy.
It is better to give than to receive. But it is acceptable and necessary to give to ourselves as well as give to others. Compassion is not something you can only share with those around you. Compassion is meant to encompass everyone, including you.