Kindness is synonymous with giving and being open and emphatic to others around us. This is of course true. Yet being kind does not stop at being kind to others but we should consider more often the possibility, or rather the necessity, of being also kind to ourselves. This may sound a little bit selfish, but actually it is important to learn and practice kindness on oneself before exhibiting kindness to others. It provides a healthier foundation.
In the following points I have summed up what I believe to be important ways to be kind to ourselves. They are also necessary paths to happiness, mental health and overall well being. Here they go:
1.Give yourself space to grow, learn, imagine and create:
This is the free domain and the highest potential of the human mind. You might be living in environments where play, creativity and thinking big is shunned or frowned upon. Your 9 to 5 cubicle job may be sucking your dreams dry and snuffing out your spark and enthusiasm for life but your outer conditions are no excuse really. So do yourself a favour and stop humming that tune. No one is stopping you from expanding your mental horizons but yourself. Think about it. Think hard. Let your mind roam free. Read, watch, dream, be inspired, loosen and broaden your perception and awareness.
2.Get to terms with your internal critic:
[GARD align=left]We all have it. Yes you definitely have one too. It’s that voice in your head that is always prompt to be judgmental towards your own behaviour, often calling you names and criticizing every action you take. “You made a fool of yourself!”, or “you’re too fat and old” or perhaps “that’s really a stupid ides”. The internal critic grows with us and becomes part of our mental makeup since we are young. It also has a positive role – that of keeping us balanced and in check with ourselves so as to prevent us from doing something crazy or dangerous. But most of the time it is a downer which makes us lose confidence, motivation and perspective. Be aware of it when it pops up and as you recognize it, thank it but dismiss it gently. Think about the same situation in more positive ways.
3.Let go of your guilt:
Guilt can be a strong emotion which ties us to our past. We might feel guilty of something we did or something we have not done but wished we could. In essence guilt is often a misperception of the truth, an emotional attachment which enslaves our heart. Although it can feel difficult to overcome guilt it’s not impossible neither improbable. You just have to remember that mistakes are part of our lives. It’s part of the contract, almost a necessity. The choice is between getting stuck in mistakes that we are all bound to do or whether we learn from them, untie ourselves from them and move on.
4.Believe in your dreams and trust your heart:
Having a free mind is a powerful thing but having a strong heart flows with the ultimate energy of the universe. There is nothing more powerful really. Alas we often forget to listen to our heart when we are troubled or confused. It’s not your fault really. The modern western culture grew to rely heavily on rationality, analytical thinking and dissecting reality into its parts. We have thus lost touch with the more intuitive part of our nature. Allow yourself to be more open to your heart. This is something we have to relearn to do but it’s there if you stop and listen. Don’t neglect your heart’s calling. Learn to be quiet and listen to its whispers.
5.Cherish your success:
We have been taught not to give too much credit to ourselves and always give credit to others. This is a good thing but when it is done at an extreme we can suffer too. It’s such a simple thing in reality that we fail to do most of the time. Give credit to ourselves and cherish our positive achievements even if the most simple and mundane ones.
6.Take your self more lightly:
[GARD align=right]One of the main stress factors that is common in our lives is the fact that we take things too seriously and we come down hard on ourselves. As in the case of the internal critic, we are too judgmental with ourselves. This makes us fall into black or white thinking which puts our world into a negatively skewed perspective. “It’s either passing the test or I’m a failure” or “if I don’t get this job, I really don’t know what to do next”. This is black or white thinking. It puts unnecessary pressure on ourselves. Take yourself more lightly. There is always room for error as there is always room for solutions, viable alternatives and a more positive way to look at things.
7.Give yourself a chance to fail as much as you give yourself a chance to succeed:
We very often fail to achieve something because we don’t even try in the first place. The fear of failure or fear of mediocricy immobilizes us and prevents us from even trying. This is partly the cause of procrastination. what is happening is that by not giving yourself a chance to fail you are not giving yourself a chance to succeed either. Chances are that you will succeed much more and fail much less by a) Trying first of all and b) not letting failure to stop you from trying again.