Saturday, June 24, 2017

Being kind to yourself

Being kind to yourself is one of those things that sounds easy in conversation but difficult in practice. Last year I spent a month being generous toward others in the hope that I would find fulfillment and increased happiness (I did). So my editor asked me to turn that generosity inward. Spend a month doing acts that allow me to appreciate myself, reflect and grow.

But the truth is, saying some Hallmark-worthy phrases to yourself isn’t an exact science for increasing your feelings of self-worth. At least not that we feel right away. But that doesn’t mean it’s not working. Growth—in any form—is never easy. It takes patience, persistence and… yes, self-compassion, a reminder we need more than once per day.

I failed (a lot) during this challenge. There were days I didn’t even want to get out of bed, let alone make it. There were times when I robotically performed my self-kindness acts just to check them off the list. It didn’t feel like I was accomplishing anything. But we can’t always trust our emotions, can we? That goes both ways. In the same way I can’t trust that this exercise isn’t working, I also can’t trust that negative voice inside my head that tells me it’s pointless and definitely not working.

Being kind to yourself isn’t about feeling good. After all, doing what feels good isn’t always what’s best for us. But taking the time to compliment myself, to nurture my self-compassion—no matter how annoying in the moment—sends a message to future me that she, in all her imperfect 45-year-old glory, matters. That’s a gift worth giving.

Love this artice? Share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter!