When we were growing up, we were told to be kind to others and that’s what we did. As adults, we continue to be kind to others because we know it’s the right thing to do, but what about being kind to ourselves? This is something I never really thought much about…being kind to myself. We have many different relationships in our lives that we work at and nurture, but the one most important relationship in your life is one you have with yourself. I think we all have internalized a belief that being overly kind to yourself, is a little self-indulgent or even selfish which makes us tend to be more harsh and judgmental towards ourselves. Once you find ways to be kinder to yourself, it’s almost as if you are suddenly reminded of common humanity. You remember that mistakes are just a part of life, so there’s no need to beat yourself up over them. So, how do you be kind to yourself? Read the tips below to help you start being kinder to yourself:
Most of us have gone through struggles in the past. The beautiful thing about life is that we don’t have to hold on those ugly parts or things that bring us shame, make us feel uneasy or bring back pain. We can grow, change, and evolve from the past. Holding on to grudges is not only unhealthy, it can be damaging, it steals your joy away and it’s a burden. I’m talking about forgiving yourself and forgiving others. Is it always easy? Hell no! Especially if you’ve had an unhealthy relationship with yourself for years and tend to put yourself down all the time, even for silly things like feeling lazy and taking a break. Do not blame yourself for making mistakes, for missed opportunities or not following through with things. Learn to forgive yourself, just as you would forgive a friend.
GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
None of us can go back in time and start a new beginning, but we can start today and make a new beginning for ourselves. We all have a past filled bad memories that we try to push far away hoping to forget all about them. But the memories are still there causing us to be hard and judgmental of ourselves. Your past is a part of you and you should be proud of overcoming the pain and struggles of your past. Giving yourself recognition has NOTHING to do with you feeling sorry for yourself or playing the victim. Mistakes, failures, and struggles are a part of life. You don’t have to keep re-living and re-telling the stories of your past, but you should feel proud for living through them and coming out a stronger, wiser person. So, to be kinder to yourself, you must give yourself credit where credit is due. You do not have to feel guilty about the choices you have made. Life is what you make it, and just because you chose to break a pattern or decided to go a different way, doesn’t make you better than anyone else and it also doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give yourself credit for building the life you want, for overcoming obstacles and going after things that bring you happiness. You don’t need to have someone telling you that you did a good job, you can easily pat yourself on the back and tell yourself that you did a good job.
We talk selfcare all the time, but selfcare is more than just taking a bubble bath (although bubble baths do help sometimes). It’s about looking after your mind as well. It’s about not being afraid to say no to doing things you don’t want to do, knowing that it’s okay to be nice to yourself and to learn, grow and protect yourself. Also, learning to take care of yourself is about knowing and realizing that it’s okay to NOT be okay. It’s okay to have a good cry occasionally or feel angry, sad or frustrated. Whatever emotions you are experiencing, acknowledge and feel them and when you are ready, move on with your life.
BE MORE GENTLE AND MINDFUL
Being kind and gentle with yourself might seem a little indulgent to you. Well, it is not! Being gentle means choosing the words you speak to yourself more carefully. Guard your speech, especially when you talk to and about yourself. Being more mindful will allow you to observe without judgment. As you practice taking the third person approach, you will be able to recognize anxious thoughts and emotions without the need to react or suffer from them. You will learn to detach yourself from those situations or emotions, so they won’t have control over you and you will be able to move on and no longer identify with the pain.
DON’T LIMIT YOURSELF
Let go of your limiting thoughts and beliefs. Are there things you want to go after, but feel is unachievable? Do you ever tell yourself “I will never be able to” or “I can’t”? Maybe you had someone tell you these things in the past. Let that crap go! Your only limit is you. There are countless resources at your fingertips to help you create the life you dream of, but this takes work and faith in yourself (if living out your dream life was easy, everyone would be doing it). Don’t expect others to believe in your dreams and goals if you do not believe in them yourself. Remember, conversations you have with yourself can either help you reach your goals and encourage you, or they can be your biggest obstacle. Let go of all limiting thoughts and beliefs that do not serve you and follow your dreams.
SEE A FRIEND
You know what all of this has in common? They are things that you would expect a good friend to do for you. Well, then why not see a friend in yourself? When you look at yourself, do so without judgment. Stop comparing yourself to others and try to treat yourself the same way you would treat someone close to you. Work on the relationship you have with yourself, just like you work on other close relationships in your life.
LET GO OF THE NEED TO BE PERFECT
The need of having to be perfect all the time can feel like a trap (I am guilty of the never ending need to be perfect). At some point, you stop acknowledging your accomplishments because there is always that voice in your head that says “well…you could’ve done a better job “. It’s just like having that all-or-nothing attitude, where unless you get 100%, you get nothing. It’s you, spending more time worrying about failing than you do focusing on what it is you are trying to accomplish. Things will not always go as planned and the sooner you accept that, the less time you will spend wasting trying to get things to be “perfect.”
Being kinder to yourself means not leaving yourself off the list of people you care and look out for. It’s about not allowing any of your negative emotions and thoughts to take over. By being more kind to yourself you will discover emotional freedom and you will recognize that your needs and feelings matter and if no one has told you lately, you matter, you are important and you are enough! Until next week, be happy, healthy, and beautiful!