As we begin a new year and reflect on the past, it may become apparent that although we have shown kindness to others, we may not have taken the same approach with ourselves.
In this post, I will explore why this may be and how we can overcome it.
Why do we find it difficult?
I believe there could be a variety of reasons.
Perhaps it’s because we fear external judgement. Success is often measured by financial wealth, which is unfortunate. This can increase pressure on identity to attain a particular lifestyle.
Or maybe it’s because we have been brought up, through family or educational institutes, to hold exceptionally high standards of ourselves and lack understanding of weakness.
Yet it could be that we suffer from low self-esteem because of the way we have been treated by people in our past. Why would we be sympathetic to ourselves when we haven’t been provided that reassurance from others?
Whatever the reason, practising kindness to oneself is important. We must strengthen this skill in order to efficiently take care of those around us. It can also bring us confidence and a degree of peace.
5 Methods to Become Kinder to Yourself
I have created a small list encompassing some of the ways I am personally practising to achieve kindness.
1. Learn to look at yourself objectively
Take a moment to think about a good friend of yours. Someone that you admire and have respect for. If they came to you with a problem, would you begin accusing them of making poor judgements?
I’m guessing probably not (and if so, I must respect your honestly!) It is far easier to look at someone else, as an outside perspective and understand that people are flawed. And it’s actually pretty reassuring.
Learning to look objectively removes the initial overwhelming judgment we so often resort to after dealing with an unpleasant or difficult situation. We can then think more rationally about our next step.
2. Practise failing
Most people have a fear of failing to some degree. We believe it is a testament of our character and being. However, it is our reactions to failure that we should pay attention to.
Everyone is prone to failure in life and there can be some value lessons learnt from doing so. It’s part of how we grow.
It’s healthy to challenge yourself, especially in unfamiliar areas. This year, I plan to sculpt some very peculiar animals out of clay and simply enjoy the process!
3. Talk positively about yourself, to yourself
This may take a bit of getting used to, but the aim is to lessen the criticism you often think about yourself and exchange it with words of admiration.
We so often focus heavily on what we aren’t good that we bypass our successes. It’s not about pretending you are perfect and flawless but acknowledging your strengths.
4. Respect your weaknesses
When we look at our flaws, there may be an instinct to declare ourselves a ‘bad’ or ‘terrible’ person. This can be especially prominent when we compare ourselves to others.
Instead, I believe it is worth far more to respect our weaknesses in order to truly work on them. Habits can be difficult to break and so it can take a long time to notice improvements. By accepting our flaws in the beginning, we can start from a place of compassion when we are ready to make changes.
5. Take more breaks
A busy day can be gone within a blink of an eye and it’s important to allow time for both physical and mental rest.
It could be in the form of an afternoon nap (a particular winter favourite of mine!) or perhaps a chapter of your favourite book. The crucial factor is stepping away from others to focus on your own wellbeing and not feeling selfish in doing so.
There is no denying the significance of being kind to oneself. Not only does it help the individual but can extend to the level of support they provide to others.
It requires practise and consistency and can vary depending on the person as to which methods are most effective, but is worth taking the time to discover!
What’s on your mind?
How do you treat yourself on an average day? Will you be practising any of these methods? Leave a comment below!