And why does it even matter?
Can you recall the last time you were kind to yourself?
Was it so recently, even today, that it immediately comes to mind? Or are you searching through your memory banks to see if you can find something?
And what do I mean by kindness? I’m talking about treating yourself kindly in the same small and big ways you might treat one of your nearest and dearest.
I mean talking to yourself kindly. Showing yourself compassion. Giving yourself a break. Doing what’s right for you. Honouring yourself; your needs, your wants, your choices. Showing yourself love.
Imagine if each of us did this for ourselves, how much more nourished and loved and vibrant we would all feel?!
Imagine what the world would be like if we were all feeling like that!
The simplest way then is for each of us to do it for ourselves.
There are many more levels to this though because, from my own experience, being able to be truly kind to yourself leads to all sorts of beautiful flow-on affects.
It fills our tank emotionally and energetically so we have more capacity for life and people and situations.
It naturally allows us to be kinder and more compassionate to others.
I think it also helps calm our body and bring more mental clarity.
It can also help soften us into more flow instead of the striving and doing mode so many of us get caught in.
In this way it can also raise our resilience and help us be in better health.
It turns out kindness has a lot going for it!
Allowing kindness in
I think we’ve all experienced how nourishing and uplifting it can be to experience kindness from others, but it can also take some getting used to, to allow it in – from ourselves or others.
Do you feel comfortable when someone does something really kind for you, or do you feel a bit squeamish? Or like you need to brush it off, or immediately reciprocate?
I’ve found for myself that I’ve had to learn to receive and allow in kind gestures, compliments and love. Even after years of practice, only recently did I realise how much more I could be allowing this in and how much kinder I could be to myself.
And may I add, that doing the opposite of this and letting the harsh internal critic or bully run rampant and constantly giving yourself a hard time simply drains the life out of you. We all know this. So let’s do something different!
How to DO kindness to self
While there are a million examples, here are some ways kindness-to-self could look like day to day –
- Taking a breath between meetings, tasks, emails or phone calls.
- Dropping any judgement on how you’re feeling and accepting that that’s just how you’re feeling.
- Honouring your own wants and desires and making them okay. Even when they’re not convenient for someone else or the same as theirs.
- Including an accurate amount of space in your calendar to prepare for and travel to meetings.
- Letting yourself off the hook and not feeling the need to be ‘on’ for everyone, all of the time.
- Taking time out in the day to eat lunch uninterrupted and away from a screen.
- Not picking up the phone when somebody is calling who you know will drain your energy.
- Making yourself right and approving of your choice to not pick up the phone.
- Putting your arms around yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed, upset or sad.
- Drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
- Speaking kindly to yourself when you’ve forgotten something or made a mistake. It’s okay darling, let’s just sort it out. (Gentlemen, you can say ‘mate’ instead of darling, if you like).
- Writing on a post-it what you most want to achieve in your day BEFORE you open your inbox.
- Doing one of your most important tasks before you open your inbox and do tasks for others.
- Reminding yourself You’ve got this.
- Sharing with someone close to you when you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or upset.
- Letting go of the idea that you have to hold everybody else up and letting yourself be as you are.
- Reminding yourself that it’s okay to rest and relax.
- Telling yourself I love you, I love you, I love you. This is a lovely thing to do before you fall sleep and/or when you wake up in the morning.
So, if you were to take 30 seconds right now to reflect on what kindness to yourself could look like today, what would that be? How would you speak to yourself, treat yourself and what would you do for yourself?
Aim for 1-3 things and keep it simple.
For me today kindness is setting an easy pace for the tasks I want to get done over the day and not putting any pressure on myself. It is dictating this article into my phone so that I can minimise screen time. Kindness is being gentle with myself as I navigate some challenging emotions this week.
I’d love to hear what your kindness-to-self might look like, so feel free to share in the comments below.