5 Ways To Be Kinder To Yourself

5 Ways To Be Kinder To Yourself

Most of the time, you need a friendly reminder to be kinder to yourself. This is especially true if one of your current goals is to reconnect with yourself. Constantly downplaying your efforts or berating your behavior is not conducive to self-esteem. Self-compassion is not easy, especially for some people. That said, being kinder to yourself may help to ease stress, face situations in a more courageous way, and feel a better sense of connectedness to the self. 

What Does It Mean To Be Kind To Yourself? 

There are a few main things to keep in mind if you want to be kind to yourself. Speak to yourself in a kind tone, look at your emotions in a clear and sober way, understand pain as a universal experience, and set realistic expectations. That last tip applies to any given situation. If you are regularly self-critical or pessimistic, those four tips may feel unnatural or awkward at first. With a lot of practice, you start to realize how much better you feel, and how much easier it is to be kinder to others as well. Continue reading to learn about five everyday practices that help you be kinder to yourself

Acknowledge Your Negative Thoughts

You don’t need to feed these negative thoughts; rather, acknowledging them can help you be kind to yourself. You can say something like, “There’s that mean thought that sometimes holds me back again.” By identifying these negative thoughts, you build more self-awareness. When you do think up negative thoughts, you can catch yourself in the act and change the trajectory of your thoughts with opposite statements. In order to challenge negative thoughts, you may also have to forgive yourself for past mistakes, which is a challenge in and of itself. 

Accept That Learning Is A Part Of Life

Some people live by the motto, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” People make mistakes and that’s how they learn. Should you punish yourself for making the same mistake twice, though? There’s no reason for that unkind voice in your head to say that you should’ve known better. Maybe you agreed to more work than you could handle or stayed up too late knowing you had to get up early. Push back against that voice! Just as you had to do math problems over and over as a child to learn the process, so do you have to do that in adulthood, minus the math. The point is that you are an ever-evolving person who is always learning. That doesn’t mean that you should not learn from your mistakes; rather, it may just take time to get it right.

Use A Mantra

If you know that you are repeatedly hard on yourself, developing a mantra or positive affirmation to repeat throughout the day may be very helpful. “I am doing the best I can,” can be a great reminder to be kinder to yourself. Don’t just say a mantra to say a mantra, though. The mantra has to be true and it needs to be reflective of what you believe about yourself. A grandiose mantra like, “I am the best at writing code,” is not helpful. Make it real and tangible!

Learn How To Do Nothing

Sometimes, you just have to take time out of your day to do nothing. Learning to be inactive, which can be very difficult for some people, is an integral component of self-care. By taking time to do nothing, you ultimately prioritize yourself, using that time to realign with your values. The idea of doing nothing has been somewhat demonized by modern day life because there is a pressure to always do something, otherwise you feel guilty. There is no greater gift than giving yourself a few minutes to do absolutely nothing. That doesn’t mean you should sit in front of the TV for hours; rather, just take five minutes to do something without any expectation. A five-minute meditation practice can be very useful, or simple breath work can aid your nothingness practice. 

Practice Self-Compassion

Self-criticism doesn’t work because responding that way in moments of emotional pain means that you make an effort to reduce your suffering. This response is a way to be harsh on yourself to motivate change, but it doesn’t always yield positive results, or a healthy relationship with yourself. Instead, self-compassion is a healthy way to be an ally to yourself, not an enemy. Self-compassion involves three components: common humanity, self-kindness, and mindfulness. Together, these things help you care for yourself regardless of your abilities. For example, if you got an A on a test, then count that as the reward for the hard work you put into your studies. Self-compassion can help deactivate the body’s threat system, which is associated with insecurity and defensiveness. Instead, you activate the self-soothing system that brings about feelings of safety.

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