If you want to be a happier and emotionally healthier person, you must learn to be kind to yourself. Sadly, people tend to be their own worst enemy at times, and their toughest critic.
Have you ever noticed that when others make a mistake, you’re quick to forgive them for their shortcomings, but when you make a mistake, you’re extra hard on yourself? If so, you likely haven’t mastered how to be kind to yourself. For many of us, when we make a mistake, we are ashamed of ourselves and morph into harsh critics.
Being hard on yourself is not good for your mental health, nor is it conducive to developing a healthy level of self-love.
So, how can we get into the habit of starting to be kinder to ourselves?
Start Your Journey By Being Kind to Others
If you have a bad habit of being pessimistic or self-critical, it can be very difficult to break the cycle of self-loathing. It can be challenging to imagine how to be kind to yourself and visualize what self-love looks like. Practicing self-compassion may feel awkward or unnatural if you’re not used to it.
When you’re struggling with the concept of self-love and how to practice it in your life, just imagine what it feels like when you’re kind to other people. Remember the way you give others the benefit of the doubt. Ask yourself how you would react if the things happening in your life happened to your best friend. Or better yet, take it to another level and volunteer to start spreading more kindness. Studies show that being kind to others helps alleviate stress and boost mental health. This will make the whole process of learning to be kind to yourself so much easier.
Learn How to Forgive Yourself
Always keep in mind that setbacks, mistakes and failures are a natural part of life, and forgive yourself when they happen. We all mess up may it be through any of the following:
- Doing something you’re not proud of
- Saying the wrong thing and upsetting someone
- Failing to stand up for yourself
- Missing out on an opportunity because you felt afraid
- Inability to follow through on a goal
- Failure to meet certain expectations
It’s understandable if you feel angry or disappointed in yourself sometimes, but do not dwell on these feelings. Try to talk yourself down instead of letting these negative thoughts escalate.
Remember, mistakes can be corrected. Instead of focusing on what went wrong and tearing yourself down, resolve to do better. Lift yourself up and analyze how you can use what happened to grow. Research shows that not learning from failure is the greatest failure of all. Learn how to use setbacks to propel yourself forward, because trials are learning experiences that allow you to grow as a person.
Be Kind to Yourself By Carving Out “Me-Time”
Self-love is a very personal journey for each individual as each of us may have different ways we like to take care of ourselves. However, one thing is certain, no matter what sparks our joy: we all need to carve out “me-time” in our hectic schedules to focus solely on ourselves. “Me-time” is self-love because it allows you to prioritize your needs and do something that brings you joy. Here are some simple suggestions for me-time:
- Enjoy a cup of coffee while taking in the view from your porch
- Draw or write in your journal
- Play a musical instrument or sing to some of your favorite songs
- Take time to tend to your plants in the garden
- Exercise with a fun Youtube video
- Soak in a hot tub or bubble bath
Be kind to yourself by making time for what you love to do. Allot time everyday just for you to gather your thoughts and do some internal meditation. It doesn’t have to be long and you don’t have to do fancy stuff either. Doing things that make you happy is enough.
Take a look at some of these fantastic self-care activities that you could try to do more regularly.
Incorporate Habits That Allow You to Take Better Care of Yourself
The best way to be kind to yourself is to take good care of your body. You only have one body, so shower yourself with love and take proactive steps to keep yourself feeling healthy. You can best achieve this by doing the following:
- Get enough sleep
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Exercise regularly
- Find hobbies you enjoy that help relieve stress
- Practice good grooming and personal hygiene habits
It’s not vanity to take care of yourself but a necessity. When you look good, you also feel good. If you’re serious about optimal health and wellness, take a CircleDNA test as a form of self-love. This comprehensive at-home DNA test doesn’t just provide you with your ancestry reports, but also provides 500+ reports about yourself, including genetic health risks, nutrition guidelines tailored to your DNA, and exercise tips that are based on your genetic strengths and weaknesses.
In order to be kind to yourself, prioritize your health because this gives you the energy to focus on your dreams, and generally makes you feel better. Poor health will always impact your relationships and work.
Cultivate the Inner Advocate Laying Dormant Within You
We all have an inner critic or that tiny voice in our heads that puts us down, especially when we make mistakes. Instead of heeding this voice, be kind to yourself by cultivating your inner advocate. Remember, no one can ever be truly perfect, and we all make mistakes. Don’t be so hard on yourself and don’t focus only on all the things that you do wrong.
Instead, it’s vital to be conscious of your own achievements and give yourself recognition for your strengths and good qualities. Often, we are all quick to acknowledge others and tell them how proud we are of what they’ve done. But we are slow to do this for ourselves. This bad habit has to stop. Instead, when you’ve fulfilled a goal or have done something you’re proud of, pause and relish this achievement. Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.
Be Kind to Yourself By Telling Yourself You are Enough
Know your worth, and don’t let other people dictate this value. Being kind to yourself entails refusing to compare yourself with others because comparison is the thief of joy. Replace negative self talk with the following phrases:
- I am worthy of great things in life.
- I am good enough just as I am.
- I deserve to be happy.
The law of attraction states that thinking more positive thoughts will bring more positivity into your life. Conversely, negative thoughts will attract more negativity. This is one of the top reasons to be kind to yourself. Be kind to yourself by focusing on happy thoughts so you can manifest these desires into existence. And always remember that the path to perfection is paved with disappointment, because perfection is unattainable.
Accept yourself as you are, including your strengths and weaknesses. For things that you desire to improve, do what you can to make them better because it’s also being unkind to yourself to settle for less. But don’t beat yourself up when you make mistakes.
If you fail, value the lesson you gained, come up with a new plan, and take action one step at a time. Being kind to yourself means always choosing progress over perfection. If you’re a perfectionist, you’re going to have to learn how to realize that perfection is not the goal. When you’re kind to yourself on a consistent basis, you’ll be amazed at the improvement in your overall mental state, emotional wellness, and resilience.
- Giving to Others and the Association Between Stress and Mortality (Michael J. Poulin et.al.) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3780662/
- Not Learning From Failure–the Greatest Failure of All (Lauren Eskreis-Winkler and Ayelet Fishbach) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31702452/
- A 7 Step Prescription for Self-Love (Psychology Today) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/get-hardy/201203/seven-step-prescription-self-love