Imagine for a moment that your partner, best friend, parent or child had a horrible day. Maybe they didn’t meet a deadline at work, didn’t get much sleep, struggled with the stressors of daily life or just felt low. What would you do?
No doubt you would jump to their console, ask what they need, embrace them, cheer them up, listen to them and empathise with them. This is a pretty typical response, as we don’t like seeing people we care for hurt.
But the question is what happens when the person who is hurting is you. Do you treat yourself how you would that friend or partner? Would you acknowledge your pain and figure out how to help yourself? Or would you soldier on, tell yourself to toughen up and push those feelings aside?
If you’ve ever flown in a plane before you might recall the emergency flight procedures that command you to first fix the oxygen mask to yourself, before helping the child or person next to you. There is truth in that process. Why? In order to be able to help others and offer kindness you must be able to look after yourself first.
Self-kindness involves being warm and understanding to ourselves, particularly at times of suffering, failure, or feelings of inadequacy instead of ignoring our pain and criticising ourselves. Self-kindness leads to greater self-acceptance and satisfaction. When we lose our urgent need to belittle and criticise ourselves, we open ourselves up to a more fulfilling way to experience life.
Top 5 Ways to Be Kind To Yourself
Allow yourself time to do something you enjoy. Write a list of the things you enjoy and make time to schedule these things into your week. Everyone needs and deserves time out for themselves, be it reading a book, walking the dog, having a bubble bath or coffee with a friend… Do more of it!!
2. Learn what your body needs
Check in with yourself! Notice feelings of hunger or thirst, notice your inner thoughts and feelings and start giving yourself those things that you need! Drink plenty of water, nourish your body with healthy foods, move your body or allow yourself to switch off and rest when you need it!
3. Watch Your Words
Pay attention to your internal dialogue! Everyone has self-talk so start paying careful attention to what you are saying and how you are speaking to yourself. Take time to reframe negative self-talk into something that is helpful, neutral, and supportive. This isn’t as easy as it sounds and it may feel unnatural at first so practice, patience, and persistence is key!
4. Have realistic expectations
There are so many pressures and expectations placed on us from society to do certain things or act in certain ways… it can feel impossible at times to meet these expectations. When expectations aren’t met it often creates feelings of failure and disappointment. If you make your expectations realistic, this will allow you a better chance of being able to tolerate experiences that don’t turn out the way we’d like or think they should.
5. Be your own cheer squad
When things are tough or you are battling with something, encouragement is a wonderful means of giving you a boost. But, does encouragement always have to come from someone externally? We should try to have positive belief in ourselves to carry us through. Acknowledge the successes you have made, the steps you have taken and challenges you have overcome. Give yourself a high five every now and then!
So how will you be kind to yourself today?Written by