Be kind to yourself

Sometimes the simplest messages can have the greatest impact on us. I have necklaces that help me in this respect; one which says, “Spread the love”, and one which says, “I am brave”. Sometimes I choose which necklace to wear and set an intention to follow the phrase based on what I’m doing that day; seeing it as a reminder is incredibly useful for me. The latest message for me is, “Be kind to yourself”.

Being kind to myself on my way to my first solo holiday

I have this on a t-shirt (slogan t-shirts appear to be very popular at the moment) and it’s in one of my favourite colours which helps too. When I wear this t-shirt, it reminds me to choose to be kind to myself. Like I said, pretty simple.

In recent months, I’ve been going through a period of change and I don’t always find it easy to be kind to myself during those times. My emotions can be more unstable, and I’m not at my most resourceful so am not as efficient as usual. These things don’t sit so comfortably with me and can lead to frustration, which has been a challenge in the past.

By shifting my mindset however, I’ve been able to be a lot more flexible about things and this has enabled me to give myself more time and space to process whatever emotions I need to in each moment. There’s still a slight feeling of guilt at not achieving the things I would have liked to, but reminding myself to be kind, particularly when things are a challenge, has really helped.

A wise friend shared the Buddhist concept of not firing the second arrow, which I find incredibly useful when I’m being kind to myself. If you haven’t come across it before, the idea is that if you’re already hurting (from the first arrow), don’t make it worse by firing a second one. This makes logical sense, but I know from my own experience that sometimes when I’m hurting I will fire a second arrow by beating myself up about the fact I’m hurting, or the impact it’s having. By being kind to myself instead, I’m finding it a much healthier mindset and often a simpler, easier, and more effective way to heal. 

Here are some examples of things I’ve been doing recently to be kind to myself:

  • Reduced the number of time-specific commitments I have
  • Scheduled ahead for a shorter amount of time
  • Focused on just the essential things to do
  • Asked people to help me
  • Used convenience to help with basic things (eating, cleaning etc.)
  • Paid more attention to what I need in each moment (which might mean napping in the day, or eating at unusual times)
  • Lowered my expectations of what I can achieve each day
  • Treated myself to things I enjoy (exercise, pampering, nice food, time with those I love)

These things have definitely helped me during some challenging times, and I’m currently feeling a little more resourceful so am able to alter things back now (which is exciting as it feels like a huge achievement!). I’m proud of the fact I’ve been able to be kinder to myself when I’ve needed to be and am now better equipped to do this in future thanks to my learning.

What could you do to be kind to yourself?