How do you treat you? If it isn’t like the best friend you have ever had, then we need to talk…
How is your inner monologue? We all have one – that voice that tells us we “shouldn’t really” when we reach for that extra glass of wine or remind us not to get our hopes up when applying for a job. But how positive and nurturing is your inner voice? Does it ever say: “Well done, today was hard but you totally nailed it” or, “You deserve a rest, go on, have a nice warm bath and relax.”? I think your inner voice should always have your back, so we’ve pulled together some advices on being kind to yourself from the inside out.
It’s time to practice Kindfullness.
As a counsellor, over the years i have learned how very damaging it can be for people to dislike themself. So your starting point is to be a friend to the person you already are, with all your virtues and faults.
Self-compassion doesn’t depend on external forces. You don’t need an applauding audience to experience it. You can give compassion to yourself even if you have low self esteem.
At least, three times a day pause for a minute or so and notice the sensation of your breath at the entrance to your nostrils, You don’t have to push your breath or do anything special with it. Simply notice it. When your mind wanders, silently say the word “thinking” and return your attention to your breath. Do so with compassion and without self-criticism. Minds wander. That is what they do. Simply bring your attention back when you discover that it has gone.
Know your are not alone
Next time you spot yourself having self-critical thoughts, pause for a moment to become aware of the many hundreds and thousands or even millions of people who are having a thought similar to yours: ” Why didn’t i do something different in my life?’…”I shouldn’t had eaten this thing last night”, “i wish i hadn’t said that thing that was foolish and hurtful”…You are not the only person having these thoughts or a thought that is very similar. Realising that you are not unique in these experiences is a necessary step towards self-compassion.
Try this affirmation: “Today i befriend the person i already am”. If you put conditions on your own friendship towards yourself, then what happens if you cannot meet those conditions? Should a parent deny a child friendship because he /she is not perfect? Of course not. We all know that the denial of friendship under such circumstances introduces an element of unnecessary and unhelpful pain into a child’s emotional life. So why do this to yourself? Try using this affirmation first thing in the morning…it’s a far better way to start the day than grumbling about yourself or about whatever you’ve got to do before you get to bed tonight!
Remember this: the person towards whom you need to be self-compassionate is the person you are right now.
Find your comfort zone
We often talk about comfort zone as being negative; a place to “step out of” – yet, according to Haulwen Nicholas, the ultimate way to be kind is to recognise our comfort zone, to embrace it and use it as a place to recharge our batteries. Each of us has a different way of recharging our batteries – for some it may be meditation, for others could be brunch with friends. To find your comfort zone, the first thing to do is to see if you get your energy from the world around you or your internal world.
The ultimate act of kindness is finding what is right for you.
How do you know if you need to set boundaries?For that, simply check in with yourself…Take a pause, step back, and see how you feel. Is there a certain person, place or situation that causes you to have negative thoughts or emotions? If so, ask yourself – “what can i do to give me the space and time to better show up to this situation, person or place?
Boundaries are dynamic and come in all shapes and sizes.
Be a friend to yourself
Talk to yourself as if you were your best friend. We often judge ourselves more harshly than we would others, say things to ourselves we would never say to others and hold ourselves to higher standards than we would others. This is often out of habit or as a result of negative beliefs you hold about yourself, but it can lead to low self-esteem or depression. Talking to yourself and treating yourself as well as you would your best friend or a loved one can look like giving yourself comfort when you feel sad, giving yourself a break when you feel tired and giving yourself the attention you need rather than always focusing on others.
Will acceptance make you lazy about change? Acceptance doesn’t mean that you will never change anything about yourself. It enables you to create a sort of quiet space in your mind in which you can be aware of what’s going on for you. Think of this as “simply knowing” without getting lost in scolding yourself.
An attitude of self-acceptance with understanding, with curiosity and without attacking yourself, enables you to look in a self-compassionate way at changes you need to make.
The more you practice mindfulness the easier you will find your way back to acceptance.
- You practice accepting the person you already are without making yourself jump through rings of fire to become acceptable to your internal critic.
- Your aim is to take friendly attitude towards yourself and to know that you have your won friendship, no matter what.
- If you need to make changes in your behaviour, you will do so from a standpoint of friendship towards yourself and not hostility.
Revel in nature
We know nature is good for us, but when it comes to self-care it can actually be pretty vital – it’s one of the best ways we can take care of ourselves. Be it in the woods, at the beach, by the lake or on top of a mountain…indulge your senses. Listen to the sound of nature, notice the smell and taste of the air around you, touch the textures around you, see the beauty in nature.
Notice how your mind and body feels and what emotions you are experiencing. If you can’t be outside, experience the elements inside by building a fire or lighting a candle, burning an incense. Open the windows and shake up the energy in your home…super empowering.
Learn how to relax
Most people find it extremely hard to relax. You probably feel like you should be doing something else or feel guilty for putting your own needs first. Who can relate? But it’s really important to spend just a short amount of time actively relaxing on a regular basis. Find a quiet place to sit or lie down comfortably. Focus on breathing slowly and evenly – ideally through the nose if possible. Choose a word such as calm or relax – or another word that really resonates with you – and repeat it inwardly to yourself on every exhale. The focus and repetition of your chosen word on each exhale enable the body to relax and the nervous system to become more balanced. Repeat this practice for 10 minutes once or twice a day.
Celebrate your little wins
Take time every day to celebrate your little victories. The little wins will go unnoticed, unless you press pause at the end of each day and reflect on what went well. There are so many things to celebrate in the everyday, trust me.
Love and Light,