Being kind to yourself seems like it should be easy, yet it is a struggle for so many. Majority of people walk around with that voice in their head, the voice that is not always very kind and for some, is a downright bully. Have you ever talked to someone (or noticed with yourself) and while you talk, they put her/himself down? Or you give a compliment and they can’t accept it? Have you ever gotten to the point where you don’t like talking to that person because they are so negative? Or you stop giving compliments because they are never accepted?
So why can’t we accept kindness from ourselves (let alone others)? Why when asked to say 5 nice things about oneself, many people can’t? Or when asked direct questions, people squirm. “Are you smart?” so many can’t say, “Yes” because they feel it is not ok to see themselves as intelligent. Or, “Are you a good parent?”, they might say “Yes”, but it is followed with a “but …”. No one is perfect, so when asked if you are a good parent, answering “yes” does not mean you are saying you are perfect, just that you try your damndest to be as good as you can at that time.
So what does kindness to self do? In a nutshell, it makes you feel good in your own skin. It lifts you up so when others might try to bring you down. It brings a brightness to your energy and others will respond to it. Being kind to self is the BEST medicine one can take in. Looking in the mirror and telling yourself you are pretty…and not followed up with any negative qualifying statements, just, “I am pretty” (or handsome or smart or a great mom or great dad). Looking in your eyes and saying, “I matter”. It feels silly, odd, or even uncomfortable to look at yourself in the mirror as we are used to looking in a mirror to “fix” something, our hair, makeup, or shaving. But to look in a mirror just to take a moment or two to connect with yourself, to honor yourself for all the good, letting go of the negatives or things you want to change for just that brief time, feels unnatural. But with practice, it becomes a reflective time. When out in the world doing your daily life of work, kids, and running around, taking a moment to remind yourself to connect your mind, body, and spirit, to just stop and breathe, even if just for 30 seconds at a stoplight, helps to bring you into balance. You remind yourself that you matter.
So is this easy when you have never done it, no, it is not, it is challenging and takes thought and practice. But can you do it, YES!!!! You not only can do it, you need to do it. You will start to notice after a few weeks, you will be smiling more, you will feel physically better. You will be emotionally more connected to yourself and those around you. You will be living a much more positive life.
We teach kids to be kind to others, a beautiful lesson, but we forget about kindness to self. Children watch us, they do what they see, so kindness to others is essential, but showing kindness to self has even more value.
So, are you up for the challenge? You don’t have to tell anyone you are doing it, it can be your secret with yourself. Keep a journal if you like, track how you are doing, notice changes.
Kindness does matter, now, take the kindness challenge for the next 6 weeks and see how kindness to self changes your life!