Be kind to yourself….? What does that mean? It is something we hear all the time and say to others when we can see someone giving themselves a hard time, not acknowledging all the good they are doing or the effort they are putting in. We may tell them, “Be kind to yourself”. So why is it that we can give this kindness to others so easily, yet when it comes to ourselves, we often struggle. This comes down to the topic of self-compassion and a gentle reminder that we need to be kind to ourselves too. So, what does being kind to yourself and self-compassion look like? This can be, becoming aware of the language we use for ourselves and how we talk to ourselves. I notice myself at times calling myself clumsy or stupid when I may drop something or make a mistake. Would I say this to someone else… No. Not a chance. So why use this negative language towards me? By noticing this language and instead telling myself, “It’s ok, it is human to make mistakes” can take away the power of the negative feelings created by these messages we give ourselves. When we are going through a hard time, instead of the criticism we may give ourselves about feeling ‘weak’ or like we ‘should be OK’. How about talking to yourself as if you were a child or a friend? It may sound difficult, but try talking to yourself, even using your name. I may say – “It’s OK Joanne, that was a tough situation, it’s a very natural response to be upset” and then doing something nice for myself. That could be going for a walk, having one of my favourite comfort foods and snuggling up with my dog or maybe connecting with another person. Treating myself as I would treat another person.
When we are kind to ourselves, we can extend this to others. When we are not kind to ourselves or give ourselves a hard time, we often extend that negativity to others. Recently I have had building work outside my home, it has been ongoing for over 4 months… clearly feeling like an eternity now! I found myself cursing the builders and even hoping for rain when the noise levels got bad. I became aware of this and recognised I needed to give myself some self-care and extend some kindness to the builders. So, I decided to bake for them. I love baking. It is one of my self-care go tos for stress relief, creativity, and enjoyment. While I am baking for someone, I cannot be angry with them. Instead, I put care and attention into doing something nice for them. This has helped me be kind to myself and acknowledge it is very human to be irritated by the noise and be kind to the builders, doing a hard job and show them some kindness too. In this small act of kindness I have completely shifted my perspective about the builder’s work. Kindness kills negativity. I read a very interesting book called The Five Side Effects of Kindness – a lovely quote I keep with me is “Being kind will make you rich – in happiness”. I really love this simple yet powerful quote, what a lovely reminder that at the end of the day, what do we want to be rich in? I really recommend this book, it gives a nice insight into the science behind kindness. The emotional, relational and physical aspects of kindness.
Thank you for being kind and taking the time to read my thoughts around kindness. My facebook and website pages are below. Please feel free to explore them to see my current holistic wellbeing offers or contact me for additional information. Namaste
Joanne Lawrence is a Counsellor at The Sangha House, to make an appointment with her contact us at email@example.com, she will also have a regular yoga slot each Wednesday at 12.30pm from mid July.
Facebook – Yoga and wellbeing with Joanne – https://www.facebook.com/joanne.lawrence.71
Website – www.yogataunton.co.uk