4 Ways to Be Kinder to Yourself

Most of us find countless reasons to criticize ourselves every day. According to the voice in our heads, we’re not smart enough, attractive enough, kind enough, happy enough, grateful enough, and the list goes on. There’s always something to blame and bully ourselves for, when we really should be approving ourselves each and every day!

What many people don’t realize is that all of the things we criticize ourselves for have nothing to do with who we actually are. In fact, if our habit is to criticize ourselves, we can never be content with who we are. Even the most conventionally attractive person in the world will continue to find flaws with their appearance; the genius will devalue their intelligence; and the most giving person in the world will think they don’t do enough for others. In order to be “enough,” we don’t have to change anything about who we are. We only have to change the way we see and talk to ourselves.

One problem in our culture is that we tend to think that praising, celebrating, or simply just liking ourselves is a sign of self-absorption. However, when we like ourselves, we not only treat ourselves better — get more sleep, eat better, and leave behind bad habits — we also treat others better because we have more energy, positivity, and patience to share.

Here are five ways to be kinder to yourself, change the destructive habit of self-criticism for good, and build a better relationship with yourself overall.

Keep a running list of all the things you love about yourself

In order to battle negative self-talk and criticism, we must be able to name and remind ourselves of the things we like about ourselves. This concept is so foreign to some people that when asked to name things they like about themselves, they can’t even do it. Or others may forget what these things are when they’re sucked into the downward spiral of negative self-talk.

So that you always have a way to remind yourself of the things that are wonderful about you, keep a running list of things you like about yourself. When you think of something new, add it to the list. And when you’re feeling stuck in negativity, break out the list and remind yourself how awesome you are!

Try speaking about yourself in the third person

Most of the things we say about ourselves we would NEVER say or think about others. But for some reason we think using the word “I” gives us an excuse to be as cruel as we want. Whenever you start to criticize yourself, switch to the third person and use your name instead of the word “I.” You will quickly see how harsh, ridiculous, and unnecessary what you’re saying about yourself actually is.

Reframe failure

love yourselfCommon sources of self-criticism include perceptions of failure, fear of failing, and a “perfectionist” attitude, which pretty much guarantees people will not live up to their own expectations. Instead of seeing situations that don’t pan out the way you’d like as failures, try to frame them as neutral experiences that enable you to learn something. Take note of what the situation taught you — almost definitely something you wouldn’t have known otherwise — use this to your advantage in the future, and move on.

Compliment yourself each morning

Start your day by looking into your own eyes in the mirror and telling yourself how fantastic you are. Think you’re not smart? Say, “You are brilliant and capable.” Have insecurities about your looks? “You are beautiful.” Not feeling super-confident today? “You are strong and fearless.” Our insecurities and fears about ourselves are all different, so what we need to say and believe about ourselves in order to heal will also be different. Discover what you criticize yourself most for, and then look yourself in the face and declare how untrue your criticisms are.

When we’re kind to ourselves, this loving attitude touches every corner of our health and well-being. We eat better, we get more sleep, we stress less, and we learn to accept others as they are and ourselves as we are. Let’s start today!

—The Alternative Daily


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