Hey friends. This here is a fact of life; most of us are kinder to the people in our lives, then we are to ourselves. We go out of our way to make sure our loved ones know we love and care for them. We are gracious, compassionate, and understanding with our best friends, partners, and children. When it comes to our own selves, we can be harsh and unforgiving. Why then, are we so hard on ourselves? What if we weren’t? What if we gave ourselves the same grace and tenderness we reserved for the people we love?
Things can change drastically once we start loving ourselves.
I have experienced this first hand. I have worked on this over the past year, and I can definitely say this has changed my life. Speaking kindly to myself rather than being harsh on myself has made me more positive, more resilient, and more stable. I am not going back and forth with my goals anymore. I am no longer constantly taking two steps forward and one step back. I am just moving forward at a gradual pace, stopping to smell the roses on the way. And that is really significant for me!
Speaking kindly to myself rather than being harsh on myself has made me more positive, more resilient, and more stable.
Also, I’ve gotten to a point where I can actually say that I am genuinely happy (this wasn’t always the case). There are good times, and bad times (that’s a topic for another time, no one is happy all the time. ), and overall, my outlook on life has grown to be pretty positive. I can truthfully say that since I’ve become kinder to myself, things have started feeling more hopeful and positive for me.
There are two main ways to be kinder to yourself:
The first is self acceptance. Accepting yourself as you truly are; the good, the bad, and the ugly! Usually we are more forgiving of others’ flaws and misgivings then we are of our own. We know that our best friend is a little flaky at times, but her other positive qualities make up for that one really negative quality. We look at the whole package, and don’t fixate and hate a person for that one flaw. We know that overall, this person is worth having in your life and in your heart.
This is what you need to do for yourself. You need to see yourself as the whole package. That even though you have certain weaknesses (and hey everyone does!), you also have certain strengths, and unique capabilities. And as a whole, you are worthy of love. Love from others, and more importantly, love from yourself!
The second is through positive self- talk (speaking kindly to yourself).
Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly running a commentary on our daily lives. If you stop to pay attention, you will begin to notice this. We have an opinion on everything we are doing, everyday. We are constantly judging ourselves from the moment we get up in the morning (ie. Your alarm goes off: “Here I go, waking up late again. Ughhh. I never get up on time. I should have gone to bed earlier last night, why can’t I ever do anything right?!”), until we go to bed at night.
This running commentary is our self talk. We can make the shift from negative self-talk, to positive self-talk.
Positive self-talk would go something like this ( alarm goes off: “Oh I am tired, but I am glad I stayed up to watch my favourite show. I really needed that to de-stress. Tonight I will go to bed early, so I don’t have that rushed feeling in the morning. It’s ok that I have it today, it was worth it”).
Do you see the difference?
Being kind to yourself changes your vibe. Imagine how the day would go if you were kinder to yourself all day long?!
Now, don’t feel discouraged if you don’t hit the ground running with this. It takes time, patience and practice.
Start by just observing your own regular self-talk. Pay attention to the things you are telling yourself regularly.
It might even help to make notes or write in your journal (I journal all the time, it the BEST. But again, I’ll save that for another post!).
Once you have observed yourself for a few days, take a look at what you found. Are you being loving with yourself? Are you being cruel? Take stock of this.
One of the questions I asked myself during this beginning phase, is what does being hard on myself get me? What purpose does it serve?
What does being hard on myself get me? What purpose does it serve?
And I realized that being on hard myself, was something I had learned from my mom as a child. Our parents are hard on us when they want us to meet an expectation, or reach a goal. Over the course of our childhoods, we internalize these behaviours and treat ourselves in the same way.
So yes, being hard on myself helped me reach goals my whole life. However, at what price? I usually felt a little damaged after reaching a goal, and needed time to recover.
What if there is a better way? What if I can reach goals without being mean to myself? Instead of a drill sargent, I needed a gentle guide.
I actually do better with my goals if I have positive reinforcement, rather than harsh consequences.
So once I realized speaking harshly to myself served a purpose, I replaced that behaviour with kinder self-talk and still found a way to reach goals and make progress.
To begin being kinder to yourself, work on accepting yourself flaws and all. Just like the people you love, you have qualities that are good, and not-so-good. You are still worth loving. You still have purpose. You need to start seeing that. You need to see yourself as the whole package, keeping focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses.
My Personal Inventory (use this printable to take a personal inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. )
The other thing you can do is to observe the way you talk to yourself. Shift that conversation to positive talk. See yourself as your best friend would see you. Tell yourself it’s ok when you make a mistake. Validate yourself, and see the good that came out of that situation. See the good choices you did make, and focus on those. Allow yourself to move on from a mistake, just like you would advise your best friend to.
I’ve started doing this for myself. When something goes wrong, I try to view myself as if I was my own parent, or my own best friend, telling myself, ” Hey its ok. You did the best you could. What are you gong to take away from this? And ” What are you going to do differently next time?”
This allows me to move on from my “failures” and flaws, and keep focusing on the positives in myself and my life. And that is why I can keep moving forward in my life, instead of dwelling on my mistakes, or starting a negative thinking cycle. We all know how those go. You start thinking negatively, and then soon you start making self-destructive choices. And things go downhill from there.
This book I read, really got me started with all of this. It’s a really quick read, and I highly recommend it if you are serious about feeling better about yourself and improving your self-worth/self-esteem. Click on the image for a direct link.
*this is an affiliate link*
I truly hope this blog post helps you in some way, shape or form. Until next time!