Most of us understand what it means to be kind to others, but do you ever consider what it means to be kind yourself. Your body, mind, and spirit deserve to be loved and appreciated. How you accomplish this doesn’t need to be a carbon copy of how others do it. In fact, our self-care and how we bring peace to our lives should be as unique as we are. I do, however, have some suggestions that seem to make a difference for most that try them.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
First of all, I’m all for a little friendly competition, but comparing yourself to others is “competition” on crack cocaine! It doesn’t serve anyone and can be destructive to every aspect of our lives. The truth is, we all have faults and weaknesses, as well as strengths and talents. We are all different in ways that make comparison futile and, frankly, a little self-serving in the opposite direction. It creates this need to find fault or flaw in others in order to make ourselves feel valid and accomplished.
This act of comparison doesn’t usually start with a landslide either. It’s more of a sneaky bandit that starts out by administering small doses here and there. Before you know it, your entire life can be wrapped up in the mission to be better than everyone else. So what do we do about it? First of all, self-love and gratitude for who we are and our lives have to be at the forefront. Which brings us to the next way to be kinder to yourself.
Love Who You Are
Though loving yourself might be a challenge if you’ve been skating on the slippery slope of comparison and self-doubt, you can change your perspective. You do this by focusing on all the good things about you and how you make a difference in the lives of others. These self-loving thoughts can include anything small or large. For example, maybe you can play an instrument well or grow the most delicious vegetables. And how about that smile of yours that lights up a room and the spirit of everyone you meet?
I have also learned over the years to make peace with my flaws and short-comings. This requires a lot of effort and patience, but it’s so worth it. We can be so hard on ourselves when we fail or make a mistake. Consider how you would feel about treating a friend or family member the same way you treat yourself when you make a mistake. I’m betting that thought doesn’t sit well…
Modern life is really on this giant treadmill that doesn’t stop for anything, not even a pandemic as we’ve so candidly discovered this year. Though we’ve had some extra time to reflect and change some of our hustle and bustle lifestyles, we still are worried, hurried, and thinking about the future. I know, I know, we can’t stop everything, but we can learn to rest at the deepest level. This means resting our minds and hearts, as we focus on gratitude and simply being present in the moments of life.
Being kinder to yourself is not something to just do once and then go back to the brutal reality of overwork, stress, and doing it all for the sake of “doing it all”. Self-kindness is a lifestyle that puts peace and love first. Though this pandemic has been hard, tragic, and greatly uncomfortable, I believe it is an opportunity to dig deeper and find ways to love ourselves more. Resting is one of those ways.
Nourish Your Body, Mind, and Spirit
Giving yourself what you need to be happy, whole, and healthy is a perfect way to be loving and kind to yourself. I’m not saying you have to do everything perfectly but nourishing your body well with proper nutrition and feeding your mind and spirit with quality, positive things makes a huge difference in how you feel and perceive your life.
At one time, I didn’t always eat well or surround myself with positive things and people. I paid the price of this kind of self-destruction with my health and relationships. When I changed the basics and made an effort to give myself what I needed, my life changed for the better.
Shift Non-Serving Habits
It’s no secret that we all have had non-serving habits that affected the way we feel about ourselves and our lives. Some of us might even have one or more right now that we would like to change. Maybe you’re a smoker (been there, done that) and desperately want to end the addiction. Truthfully, breaking any habit isn’t easy, but it can be done if you focus on self-love and the benefits.
I had a horrible time ending my addiction to nicotine for good. I kept coming back to it whenever things got stressful or weird in my life. I hated myself for what I was doing and looked for anything like patches, therapy, and even gadgets like a bloom farms vape pen to help me quit. Finally, I stopped beating myself up for the self-destructive behavior and I relaxed, giving myself a chance to understand why I was smoking in the first place. Before I knew it, I didn’t want or need it anymore.
Being kinder to yourself does take time and focus. I recommend doing small things that make you feel good inside and bring peace to your life. Also, remember, you are important and deserve to have the things you want in life. Yes, other people need love, support, and favors, but they don’t have to be given at the expense of your own happiness and self-care.