“You’ll never speak to anyone more than you speak to yourself in your head. Be kind to yourself.” –Amanda Couch
Kindness is one thing we are often told to show to people, especially to strangers, so that they can be more comfortable in the unfamiliar environment. Which is fantastic. But whoever reminds us to also be kind to ourselves?
So much ado about us being kind to another without much balance for self-kindness, too. It seems more people are kinder to others than they are to themselves. Not that it’s bad to be always kind to others. By every means, we must. But it isn’t balanced to make others feel good and loved while you hate on yourself. This is where we’re having internal conflicts with the self. Because we tend to forget that we’re also a being deserving of some kindness from ourselves, especially during the most difficult periods of our lives, just the way we show this kindness to others in their very low ebb.
Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
Now imagine the definition above and see how much difference it can make to anyone experiencing a relationship with self that way. I think if we learn to be kinder to self, we may just as well stop chasing confidence. Kindness shown towards self can lead to appreciative growth in self confidence.
When you’re friendly, generous and considerate towards yourself, you would find it harder to indulge in very self-judgmental attitude that often wear out any self confidence you may have had left. This is where kindness may help in not only maintaining a good chunk of self confidence, but also in aiding to develop this trait.
As a self-love teacher, one of the issues I have had to help my clients with, especially the new ones, have been in bringing to them the awareness of kinder treatment towards the self. Most people that had issues with lack of self acceptance had been that way because of their own learned ways of always sabotaging the self in habits that are never kind to themselves. This habit may have been picked up from the environment that didn’t accept them the way they are in the first place. For these individuals, who are now unlearning those “harmful to self” habits, showing them the better ways to imbibe in self acceptance requires their learning the new ways to be kinder to themselves, first.
While it is excellent that we have the attitude of being kind to anyone we come across, this write up is focused on ways we should now learn to embrace kindness towards ourselves.
I’ll share some very simple, yet most fundamental ways you can begin the journey towards self kindness below.
Forgive yourself: a lot of people are actually angry with themselves for errors they had made in the past, or for their failure to meet up with their own standards. Some were anger borrowed from those who were angry at them for failing, which they mastered to turn towards self because of their high expectations of approval from those persons.
I’ve worked with some individuals who loathed themselves for years because they felt short of their own perfectionist level which had cost them a lot in many ways. They had lived their daily lives thereafter reminding themselves of how much they failed and lost in the process. As a result, they hate on themselves for allowing such to happen to them.
For some, it is for allowing themselves so stupid in love relationships that later hurt them badly. They regret falling for the lies, and ignoring the signs, even long after this issue had passed. This isn’t helpful. No matter how much you had missed it in the past, the starting point to becoming kind to yourself is by forgiving yourself for all of those wrongs and mistakes. All of us fall into one mistake or failure at some point in our lives. You’re not alone. Show yourself kindness through self forgiveness today.
Accept yourself and show yourself compassion: this is a very critical step towards showing kindness to yourself. For not embracing yourself, you showed that you didn’t love yourself and as such, treated yourself very unkindly. Now, change that attitude by accepting who you truly are because you’re the one to show others how to accept you by the way you have accepted your own strengths, weakness, mistakes, triumphs and all that you entail.
By accepting yourself, you show compassion towards you and an understanding for your own humanity. This way, you learn the new way of becoming kind to yourself. No one deserves being rejected. Why should you then reject your own self? It doesn’t matter what your background or history may be. You’re good enough. All you need is the first step of acceptance and then taking that line further to develop yourself. You’re always enough.
Befriend your inner advocate: I’m quite sure you’re more familiar with your inner critic than you are with your inner advocate. Most of us are this way! We draw towards criticising ourselves than in defending or cheering up who we are. I’m not saying we should only praise ourselves and forget to chastise ourselves also when we don’t do well. My point is that, we also learn to realize the inner advocate who is ever there quietly pushing us on, and cheering us up, rather than focused only on the inner critic, which is what is common with us humans.
Your inner advocate deserves to be listened to, especially in the toughest times of your life when every voice seems to only be reminding you of how much you messed up. That advocate would be there trying to also defend you by showing you areas you did try after all. Don’t just ignore it. Listen to it as well to help soothe your soul.
Take good care of yourself: one of the ways you can show yourself kindness is by taking good care of yourself in eating rightly, exercising as deem necessary, taking the breaks as required, and ensuring whatever environment you put yourself is to make you grow. It is your responsibility to look out for yourself in various ways that would help your becoming process. Part of taking care of yourself is understanding when you need to take a rest and when to move on from stuff no longer helpful to your emotional, psychological or mental well-being. This is very important in your daily show of kindness to self. Because if you neglect taking care of yourself rarely will anyone else do so.
Respect yourself: self respect is probably one of the hardest thing to do because we fear being labelled proud when we do so. But how true is that really? Respect must be reciprocal, otherwise it becomes an abusive interaction. Even children are human beings deserving of respect. When you respect yourself, you show others the best way to see and treat you. That’s a good way to show kindness to yourself. And it matters a great deal!
Allow yourself make mistakes and grow thereby: you must realize that part of self growth is actually by learning from mistakes. No matter how much you try, as long as you’re human, you’ll make certain errors in various ways. Don’t be too hard on you. Allow yourself learn, unlearn and relearn life’s lessons. You’ll be okay.
When you create an environment that allows yourself the room for mistakes and learning, you show that you’re aware of your own humanity. This is the best way to realness, and the embrace of authenticity. Because this habit tells the world you’re not afraid to be judged because you want to live life fully more than being too careful not to be criticized.
There are many ways you can become kinder to self. I’ve shared these important ones that actually aid the success of all other ways. It is part of the ways I’ve helped many love themselves again. I hope you find them useful by practicing them, no matter how difficult it may be at first. You owe yourself kindness. Start now!
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To your healing, love and fulfillment.
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