Being kind to yourself is one of the best things you can do for yourself. But it’s also the one thing that is most often neglected or something that some people may feel guilty about doing.
Here are ways to start being kinder to yourself today:
1. Speak To Yourself As You Would To Your Friends
Before you speak, think it over: if you wouldn’t say it to any of your closest friends, don’t say it to yourself.
What you can do the next time you find wallowing in negative self-talk is to get a pen and paper, and draw a box with two rows and five columns. Label them: Thought, Emotion, Evidence, New Thought, and New Emotion.
Break down your negative thoughts into each of the first three columns and formulate positive thoughts out of them. Repeat this exercise every day until you form the habit of stopping negative thinking in its tracks and replacing them with kinder ones.
2. Exercise Mindfulness
It’s not only negative self-talk that harms your inner being. Self-judgement also hurts your self-worth, even if you aren’t consciously doing it. You will become what you believe you are.
Mindfulness exercises help you defeat these thoughts of self-judgment and ideas of defeat and replace them with self-compassion.
Consider your thoughts and emotions without ruling them out as “good” or “bad”. Examine them with mindful awareness without judging it – don’t try to dismiss them, but don’t dwell on them either.
Feelings and thoughts come and go, and they change. Do not build your identity on these fleeting things. This too shall pass.
3. Forgive Yourself
You did the best you could with the cards you were dealt with. The lessons you picked up from your mentors, your environment, your experiences, and your physical and mental health all influence the way you treat others and yourself.
Self-forgiveness isn’t making excuses or pretending you didn’t make a mistake. It means showing yourself compassion and recognizing that you’re only human. People all make mistakes, sometimes tragically huge ones. But the more important thing is making amends and avoiding the same mistakes in the future.
4. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
You may think you know someone from what you see on Facebook, but in reality, you really don’t know the whole story. People tend to use social media to show the idealized versions of their lives. Behind a perfectly manicured lawn are nightly fights between your old coworker and her husband. Behind extravagant trips around the world are piling credit card debts.
Don’t go down the rabbit hole of social media and stop comparing yourself with other people. What you can do is unfollow people whose lives trigger strong negative emotions with you. You’re being kinder to yourself by removing these unrealistic benchmarks and redirect your focus on becoming a better person.