Why do we find it so hard to be kind to ourselves?
What is it we’re afraid of?
We deprive ourselves when we make self-kindness the last thing on our agenda. And we deprive the ones we love of the best we have to offer them. Because how we love ourselves is how we love others.
What is self-kindness?
Self-kindness is looking in the mirror and finding something we like today rather than hacking ourselves apart.
Self-kindness is taking a break instead of pushing through stress, anxiety and overtime at the office.
Self-kindness is believing we are worthy of the best life has to offer us and then moving one step closer to it.
Through my childhood, twenties and most of my thirties, I struggled immensely with self-kindness. Somewhere along the way I had bought into the lie, or many lies, that I wasn’t smart, pretty, talented, or really worth much at all.
Many of us buy into that lie. It doesn’t take much—bitter words on the playground; the teacher who puts us down instead of building us up; the parent who downloads their own negative beliefs; the lover who leaves us. Whatever it is, we always find the bad stuff easier to believe.
Making time for self-kindness
Self-kindness isn’t (necessarily) about taking an afternoon trip to the spa. Self-kindness is as much about attitude as it is about time
You may be a mom with a full time job who doesn’t have a minute to herself in the day. But being kind when you look in the mirror will change the way you feel. Allowing yourself that chocolate cupcake at the end of the day without beating yourself up will change the way you feel.
We often take care of everyone else’s needs before our own, believing that to take care of ourselves is self-indulgent. But taking a moment to ask yourself, “What do I need today?” isn’t self-indulgent—it’s the first step towards abundant living.
Believing you are worthy
The biggest barrier we have to self-kindness is believing we are worthy of goodness in our lives. We pay more attention to reality shows on T.V. than we do to our own needs, because considering our true desires means facing everything that is wrong with our lives.
It’s so much easier to endure a stressful imbalanced life that offers the comfort of knowing what’s next, than it is to walk through uncertainty and challenges to reach a place where we are living as our authentic selves.
But on the other side of facing the discomfort is a bridge to self-kindness and change.
Respect yourself enough to take as much care of your own needs as much as your children’s. A child needs a parent who is kind to herself—she will look to your lead in how to treat others, how she sees her reflection in the mirror, and how she values her time.
1. Ask yourself, “What does my heart need today?” You can journal about this or simply take a few moments of quiet time to think about it. When you have the answer, do one small thing that will bring you closer to that need.
2. Look in the mirror and name five things you love about your reflection (i.e. your hair, your nose, your torso etc.)
3. Take 30 minutes for yourself tonight to do something you love. Yes, that may mean missing your favourite T.V. show (does anyone watch live T.V. anymore?) but imagine how you’ll feel climbing into bed if you spent a part of your evening doing something you absolutely love? Do some baking; take some photographs; pull out the scrapbook or paintbrushes; go for a run; have a glass of wine and a bubble bath; read a book; go see a movie…just reconnect with that thing you never get around to doing anymore because you’re “too busy.”
You’re never too busy for the things that matter and the journey of self-kindness is one of the most important journeys you’ll ever make.