We’ve all heard that it’s better to give than to receive.
Now science shows us that the act of showing compassion to your spouse is rewarding in and of itself. Even if he or she isn’t aware of your kindness act.
University of Rochester psychologists recently found that it really is better to give than receive. In fact, the emotional benefits can be quite significant for the giver.
For example, a husband notices the garbage is full and takes it outside before he leaves for work. That gesture would boost his emotional well-being, regardless of whether his wife notices.
“Our study was designed to test a hypothesis put forth by Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama,” said one of the university psychologists, Harry T. Reis, “that compassionate concern for others’ welfare enhances one’s own affective state.”
Before the study, the researchers predicted that recognition of the compassionate act would make the donor feel most valued.
They also thought the recipient would feel the most benefit when the act was mutually recognized, rather than when one partner perceives a compassionate act that wasn’t intended.
While those predictions were confirmed, the researchers discovered something else.
“Clearly, a recipient needs to notice a compassionate act in order to emotionally benefit from it,” said Reis. “But recognition is much less a factor for the donor.”
For Reis, the results show that “acting compassionately may be its own reward.”
On the surface, this doesn’t seem like a concept that needed a scientific study done. We all know (or should know) that compassionate giving is something you should do for your partner.
However, what unintentionally happens over the years is that giving can turn into a chore. Something you “have to do.”
It’s important to understand that giving isn’t a one-sided affair.
It’s something that should be mutually beneficial to both partners.
And now, we have scientific proof.
This is an interesting study to quantify the benefits of compassion. It shows that, if your intent comes from a place of love, it can only strengthen your relationship.
Changing your perspective from something you “have to do” to something you “have the opportunity to do” can have a profound difference in your own well-being.
All it takes is a mindset shift from negativity or obligation, to a place of gratitude.
I would love to know your own experiences with your significant other and how both of you give and receive in your relationship. Please leave a comment below.
Happy and healthy investing,
Harry T. Reis, Michael R. Maniaci, Ronald D. Rogge.
Compassionate Acts and Everyday Emotional Well-Being Among Newlyweds. Emotion, 2017; DOI: 10.1037/emo0000281