What does it mean to be kind to yourself? A counselor tells you all
By NCVC Staff | Published on Sep 27, 2023
Have you ever noticed how effortlessly we criticize ourselves when things don’t go as planned? We beat ourselves up, stop trying, and worry about what others might think of us. But what if we took a different approach? What if we were kind to ourselves instead?
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Think about it this way: imagine you’re a student who has just failed a competitive exam. One teacher screams at you, calling you a loser and telling you that you’re going nowhere in life. On the other hand, another teacher walks in and reassures you, pointing out that your methodology was right and offering to help you improve. Which teacher do you think would help you grow and succeed? And which teacher are you to yourself when you make a mistake?
Being kind to yourself means treating yourself with the same empathy and understanding you would show others. It means looking in the mirror and genuinely saying, “I love you” without any self-criticism or doubt. But let’s be honest, it’s not always easy to be kind to ourselves. We often compare ourselves to others, finding flaws and being overly critical of our own actions.
We take care of our physical health by avoiding harmful activities, so why do we subject our mental health to pain and suffering? It’s time to bring about a change.
The blame game
When we don’t live up to our own expectations, our initial reaction is often self-blame and self-criticism. We hold onto our mistakes, refusing to forgive ourselves and consequently destroying our peace of mind and sleep. But do we really deserve this punishment? Is reliving our negative emotions every day doing us any good?
To be kind to yourself, you need to let go of the blame game. Start by tracking your thoughts and writing them down. Tag them according to their source, whether it’s comparison, jealousy, control, childhood pain, or something else. Acknowledge these thoughts, but don’t let them consume you. Simply tag them and let them go.
Practicing gratitude and self-care
Another powerful activity that can help cultivate kindness towards yourself is practicing gratitude. Take a moment each day to reflect on what you’re grateful for. It can be the little things you appreciate, moments you’ve experienced, or people in your life. And don’t forget to include yourself on that list!
In addition to gratitude, guided meditation focused on self-love and self-forgiveness can also be beneficial. Take the time to engage in these practices and nourish your mind, just as you would take care of your physical body.
Put yourself first
Being kind to yourself means forgiving yourself for your mistakes and understanding that you only have one body and mind for your entire life. Treat yourself with respect and utmost love. Put yourself first and recognize when you need a break, without feeling guilty about it.
Imagine a world where everyone is kind to each other. How would they treat each other? Now, make a list of those acts of kindness and start doing them for yourself. You deserve the same kindness you show others. You deserve the kindness you crave.
Being kind to yourself isn’t selfish; it’s essential for your well-being. So, start embracing self-kindness today and watch how it transforms your life. You have the power to be your own biggest cheerleader and source of support.