One of the hardest things for me to understand is why we as humans cannot be more kind and loving to ourselves.
The way that we sometimes talk to ourselves is nothing short of cruel.
Yes, they say we are our own toughest critics – but I mean, WHY?!
If we said out loud to others half of the things that we say to ourselves, people would think we are straight-up crazy and pretty rude.
Being kind and loving to ourselves is not some crazy, complicated, abstract concept. We (at least for the most part, I hope) know how to be kind to others.
Kindness itself is not an unattainable virtue completely beyond our capabilities. But the ability to apply the otherwise seemingly simple act of kindness to ourselves does take intention and practice.
We have somehow been conditioned to believe that we are exempt from the kindness that we give to others.
For a long time, I was (for the most part, let’s be real here – because sometimes I can still be a pill) an amazing sister, friend, daughter & partner…but an absolute monster toward myself! It makes no sense. Why are we most critical of the person that is in our mind with us, living our life?
Nourish the Relationship You Have WIth Yourself
The relationship that you have with yourself is arguably the most impactful relationship you have, but it’s so regularly neglected. You spend so much time in that mind of yours, but rarely stop to pay attention to what the talk track consists of.
It just gabs on and on, oftentimes with thoughts about yourself that are straight-up mean! I am willing to bet you would never talk to your loved ones or best friends the way that you talk to yourself.
But the truth is, the way that we talk to ourselves has a direct effect on how we experience our lives. I mean how much fun it is to have a head full of dark and negative thoughts?
Not very! Yes, It’s undeniably painful in the present moment – but that’s not the only detriment.
When we are constantly consumed with negative thoughts about ourselves, we create a reality that reflects what we think that we are worthy of. If we have low-grade beliefs about ourselves looping in our minds on repeat, how the heck are we supposed to create a life that we have positive feelings about?
The idea that we speak what happens in our lives into existence is no joke. Yes, The Secret is wildly simplified (and let’s be honest, the movie was a little cheesy) – BUT there’s absolute truth in it, and there is a reason that manifestation has become mainstream and is being more readily accepted by larger groups of people.
Start Being More Kind and Loving to Yourself
If you believe, consciously and subconsciously (this is huge, but more on that later), that you are deserving of something, then life will deliver it to you. But if you don’t, you better believe that there is no way in hell that you’re gonna get it.
It’s simple: negative self-talk reinforces (on a conscious and subconscious level) the belief that you are unworthy of what you truly desire in life. These beliefs are projected into the world around you, which then perpetuates the creation of a life that doesn’t fulfill you, which triggers more negative self-talk.
Messy, right?! It can be a vicious cycle, and if you’re not careful (and intentional), then you can go your whole life stuck with this nasty loop playing on repeat.
Why is it so hard to be more kind and loving to ourselves?
How To Be More Kind And Loving To Yourself
If you want to start being more kind and loving to yourself and cultivate a healthier and more meaningful relationship with yourself, here are a few tips on how to do so:
Throw a wrench in that dang loop!
It seems so simple, but it’s true. Until we make the decision to make a change, we will stay in the same place with the same thought loops running on our minds – ones that are negative, hypercritical, and straight-up mean.
Oh my gosh, gratitude. Seriously the quickest way to flip the switch and just start being more kind and loving to yourself.
Whenever you are feeling down on yourself and your mental talk track is not so nice, stop yourself in your tracks and list 3 things you are thankful for.
They can be things that you appreciate about yourself (physical or nonphysical), or something that you appreciate about your life overall. It is impossible to fixate on the things that you dislike about yourself when you switch your focus to the things you appreciate.
3. Pretend You’re Talking To The 8-Year-Old Version of Yourself.
My old therapist taught me this years ago and it has stuck with me because it resonates soo deeply. If you are being a little meanie to yourself and saying straight-up rude things about your body, your appearance, your character, your personality, your capabilities, etc – try saying them to your 8-year-old self.
I can guarantee, it will stop you straight in your tracks! It is so powerful. We are so hard on our present self, but something takes over when you imagine talking to your younger self in this way. You’d definitely be more kind and loving to them, am I right?
4. Change the Script.
If you have a negative thought about a body part, replace it with at least 2 reasons that you’re grateful for that same body part. If you think to yourself “ugh, I wish that stomach flab wasn’t there” – replace it with “this beautiful stomach protects the organs that work day in and day out to keep me alive! And I am lucky to have food daily that feeds this stomach”. It’s all about perspective.
Okay, this one might seem weird to some people, but I swear it works like a charm. In the morning, before you leave the house, look at yourself in the mirror and say “I love you”, while making direct eye contact with yourself.
It felt so weird when I started but now I love it! It makes me feel all fuzzy inside, and it creates an immediate shift. Pro tip: sometimes I take a break while doing my mascara and do it then.
Two birds, one stone!
6. Stay Away Negative Self-Talk
Don’t participate in conversations with other people bashing themselves. I know it is so easy to do communal commiserating. Women are so commonly narrating out loud when they think they eat too much, don’t work out enough, or are dissatisfied with their bodies.
Talking about how you need to lose weight, or need to eat differently, how you shouldn’t eat this, should eat that, how you have been “bad” (side note: murder is bad, eating is not) – it goes on. And speaking out loud your negative perceptions of yourself only makes them more real.
What you speak becomes real, and so putting your own self disdain out into the world only makes it more real – and then harder to rewire.
Be kind and loving to yourself, and those around might start doing the same.
Comparing yourself to others breeds negative self-talk. You wanna know one of the most powerful things I have ever done to quit comparing myself to others?
I went buck wild and axed everyone I was following on Instagram that made me feel unworthy, inadequate, or ‘less than’ in any way. Treat who you’re following on Instagram like your closet/house and straight up Marie Kondo that stuff.
If it doesn’t bring you joy (aka inspire you, make you feel good about yourself, or add something to your life in some way) then thank it and say BUH-BYE! Social media can be such a beautiful way to expand and shape your views – so make sure it is information that fills you up and doesn’t drain you.
So there you have it!
A few ways to be more kind and loving to yourself by shifting the way you are perceiving, treating, and talking to yourself. I hope this helps you begin to foster a kinder, more loving relationship and meaningful relationship with yourself. And in doing so, you can inspire others to do the same.