The other day I read something about self-compassion that got my attention. "Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world," wrote Lao-Tzu, a philosopher and poet in ancient China.
While I know all things are interconnected, I still had to think about that a while. But it makes sense, doesn't it? When you and I practice self-compassion and give ourselves the love and kindness that we would show to others, we feel so much more loving and generous-spirited inside. And when our hearts are open and loving, of course, we radiate that out into the world to all those with whom we come in contact.
And we know about the ripple effect when we throw a stone into the water. Just so, that love and compassion we put out into the world when we're good to ourselves reaches much farther than we can even imagine. It's contagious in a beautiful way. Who knows what lives it may touch—someone who really needed an act of kindness, a smile or a word of encouragement?
It's OK, really. Start with yourself. Show compassion to yourself. Don't treat yourself badly and then expect to be loving and kind to others. Self-compassion is not selfish. It's an act of reconciliation as Lao-Tzu said.