Self-compassion, being kind to oneself, can actually be harder to do. Following on from last week’s article on Kindness, I would now like us to look at ‘self’, in particular being kind to oneself.
It is true that we are often our own worst critic and judge. Who hasn’t berated themselves with things like; what an idiot, I am so stupid, what’s wrong with me, why do I always do this…and the list goes on. This is often out loud, but more often thoughts that pop into our minds. Once we get on a roll the mind will do its thing and actively search for other times when we have done similar things, thereby supporting our statement or thought. The mind is helpful like that. The truth is we would never speak to a friend, colleague or stranger the way we speak to ourselves.
As with mindful acts of kindness towards others, we can also develop this habit towards ourselves.
To increase self-compassion why not try these two tips:
- Pay attention when they are harsh on themselves. I ask that they note it down and then once a day sit down and go through the list and rephrase as if you are speaking to a young child, maybe even a younger version of yourself. Notice how you are much kinder, you see the good, and give encouragement for next time.
- Write a letter to yourself. If there is something that you notice as a theme, maybe you continually get angry when you don’t get your way. Write a letter to yourself about how that makes you feel and why, note that we all have our idiosyncrasies but that by seeing it you can work towards resolving it. Write how you would have preferred to behave and how you may do it differently next time. If you struggle with this, write like you are writing to a loved one.
Overtime if you follow the tips outlined above, you will change your attitude towards yourself. You will in time find yourself stopping before the critique is finished and mentally readjusting your thought. Being kind to yourself, having self-compassion makes you a better person, not only for you but for those around you.
The benefits to you of being kind to yourself are the same as being kind to others:
- Better health
- Better relationships
- Better performance
- Less stress, better coping abilities
- Fewer negative emotions
So be kind to yourself starting today, it is in your best interests.