To be kind to yourself is one of the hardest things in the world. It’s easy to be kind to other people, to go that extra mile to help make their day better or to be of service in some small way. However, between the critical voice in our head, our impatience when we make mistakes and just plain ignoring some of our very basic physical and emotional needs, how often do we afford that kindness to ourselves?
Think I’m wrong? Did you have breakfast today? Or did you get breakfast for everyone else, run out of time and rush out the door? When unexpected traffic due to an accident last made you late, did you chalk it up to fate or berate yourself for leaving too late? If your husband forgot something did you text him to let him know he’d left it behind and then scold yourself for not reminding him to take it? I did the latter this very morning.
Silencing that critical voice in your head and actually being kind to yourself – instead of just everyone else for a change – is hard. It is not, however, impossible. Here are some techniques I use to help me be kind to myself.
Do One Thing at a Time
Human beings are physically incapable of doing more than one thing at a time properly – although goodness knows we try. You can read more about making your life better by Doing One Thing at a Time here.
Hold the Same Standards For Yourself and For Others
Do you have the same expectations of yourself as you have of others? Or are your expectations for yourself much higher?
When I was a new mom, I expected nothing short of perfection in terms of how I looked after my son, kept our home and looked after my appearance. Yet I didn’t expect my friends’ houses to be spotless or for them to look like they had just been away to a spa, particularly those with newborns. I know a woman with five children under the age of ten who berates herself for not being able to keep up with the housework! There’s a man who lives in our street whose job and long commute make it impossible to get a decent work life balance but does he blame the job situation or traffic? Nope, he blames himself.
Next time you find yourself being critical because you haven’t met your own very high standards, think about what you would say to a friend in a similar situation. You cannot hold yourself to higher standards than those to which you hold others.
Allow Yourself to Make Mistakes
When someone you love makes a mistake, it’s totally unacceptable to berate them for hours and remind them of it on and off for the next several years. Yet we do this to ourselves!
It’s easy to obsess about things we wish we had done differently but we have to allow ourselves the same grace we offer to others. Remind the critical voice in your head that you are human too. Forgiving ourselves is every bit as crucial to our spiritual health as forgiving others.
Take Time Out
It is incredibly important to take time out on a regular basis. I’ve shared painless ways to do this – ways that will actually enhance your productivity – in this post.
These are just baby steps but I encourage you to incorporate them in your daily life in an effort to be kind to yourself as well as to others. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make to your life, your health and your success.