This quote has always stopped me in my tracks because it has such resounding truth in it; and yet, why is it so hard being kind to ourselves while finding it easy helping and understanding others in exactly the same circumstance? I found it really hard liking myself because I was constantly pointing out faults and flooding my thoughts with negativity. However this all started to change after my mom died.
I didn’t really decide to embark on a self-discovery/self-healing journey, it just happened and I continue on it today. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer almost three years ago, I was lucky enough to spend the last three months of her life by her side. During those months my mindset changed completely. My mom was such a positive person, and she forced me to look at life from a different perspective.
One of the first things I did after her death was examine the relationship I had with myself; I noticed how unkind my thoughts were and how impatient I was with myself. So I actively started changing them by understanding why I reacted in certain ways and why I thought those reactions were not OK.
Last August I embarked on a 7 month journey to focus on healing and self-growth. I detoxed my life from negative baggage; made a mind-map of everything that made me happy, which included my personal goals and what countries I wanted to live in, flipped a coin and then booked my flights to Thailand.
I was overwhelmed and scared; but I was not alone.
In the months that followed I became the most important person in my life, I became aware of my thoughts and made an effort to be kinder to myself. I was astounded by how much I liked myself. The major shift in my thinking began when I started treating myself as a friend.
Why we should be kinder to ourselves.
- Our relationships will be happier and healthier
Happiness comes from within and should be amplified by the people in our lives. When we are kind to ourselves we learn to become happy from within and don’t look for someone to complete us, or to accept what we ourselves cannot accept. We are rather looking for someone to go on a journey with, someone who will add to our already whole selves.
- We teach others how to treat us
When we have a high self-regard, it makes it a lot more difficult for people to be assholes, and at the very least we become a lot less effected by their behavior. People will see how we treat ourselves and will subconsciously start treating us with the same level of respect and we will find that negative people will start leaving our lives because there is nothing for them to feed off.
- We start practicing gratitude by recognizing our “future self”
I first came across the term “future self” when I read a post by author, Elizabeth Gilbert. The concept was simple yet life changing. We need to start thinking of the us in the future as someone else someone we love. Then start doing small things that we know they will like and appreciate. For example, if you hate coming home to a sink full of dirty dishes, take a few minutes to clean the kitchen because you know how much happier you will feel later.
- Doors to other types of happiness will open
Once we start getting into the habit of being nice to ourselves, we will find that other doors to happiness and well-being will start opening follow them.
- We learn to listen to what we want
By practicing self-kindness we get in touch with what makes us happy and what we want. It will be easier honing in on what brings us joy, and rooting out anything that causes us unnecessary pain. Once we know what makes us happy we can pursue it relentlessly and fearlessly, because once we have known happiness, why would we ever settle for anything less?