A Renewable and Restorative Energy Source
Kindness is a quality that many of us strive to cultivate, but the focus of our efforts is typically external. We prioritize being kind to our families, friends, co-workers, and strangers, yet we often forget to extend our goodwill to the person who matters most: ourselves.
You might ask – Why is it essential to be kind to ourselves? Shouldn’t I hold myself accountable when I mess up? While keeping yourself responsible for what you want to achieve is crucial, choosing compassion over self-criticism as a motivator has significant benefits.
It may take practice or working with a professional therapist to address your inner critic. However, practicing self-kindness is a good way to discover compassion, understanding, and grace for yourself and others.
Self-kindness also positively benefits our physiology. Research has linked it to reduced feelings of depression, anxiety and lower stress. Lower stress levels also improve sleep quality, weight loss, and cardiovascular health.
Adopting a kinder approach towards yourself has also been shown to fuel personal growth and creativity. Giving ourselves space and encouragement when we face setbacks helps us bounce back faster and find new opportunities.
If self-criticism has been a default practice for you, shifting to a kinder mindset can feel foreign and take some time to embrace fully. Take it slow.
First, become more aware of self-narratives. For example, note if you say things like “I’m so lazy” when you miss a workout. Next, try to replace it with, “I listened to my body and gave it the rest it needed.” Whether written or in audible form, positive affirmations can improve your self-talk.
Practicing self-kindness may challenge everything you’ve been taught and cause you to question the things you normally say to yourself. Change will require some patience, but showing yourself grace is one of the highest forms of self-care. You are the most essential person in your life – you deserve to treat yourself well.