Learning to Show Myself Kindness
I am my own worst critic. I’m pretty sure that’s the case for quite a few people, whether you’re just too hard on yourself or you suffer from “imposter syndrome” – I get it! One of my many goals for this year was showing myself kindness, however I realize that’s easier said than done. Here are six ways that I’m trying to put it all into practice:
Deciding what I need to get out of the word “kindness”
To start, I needed to further break down the word to figure out what exactly I was looking to gain. For me this means compassion, understanding, empathy, support and love. I would greatly benefit from showing myself more of all of these so it’s worth noting! It might be different for you – I would suggest trying to dissect it a little before you can start to get clear on how it can be applied.
After I was able to break kindness into those five parts I wondered what ways I could start to apply them to my routine or how I would be able to manifest them when it came to dealing with myself. I thought that the most basic way to start would be to write a few daily affirmations I can repeat (as part of my routine) that highlight those qualities. Not familiar with affirmations? They are statements that you make to yourself daily (or even multiple times a day!). They can be anything you need them to be. It can be as simple as “I love myself” or “I am worthy of _____” or a more detailed sentence. Don’t think about anyone else hearing them when you decide what your affirmations are. They are for you, by you and completely based on what you need to hear! I like to start my day with saying my affirmations but will repeat the relevant ones to myself when necessary through my day.
Cancel negative thoughts
I actually found this article on canceling negative thoughts right as I was starting to put this all together. The act of saying “I cancel that thought” and then countering it, as mentioned in the article, really spoke to me. It might seem silly but I’ve found that when I’m by myself it’s easy to redirect that negativity and somehow saying it out loud works for me.
Breathe and/or meditate
I’ve begun meditating again and have found it to be calming. Of course it’s not always appropriate in every situation but trying to get 10 minutes a day will help with my mindfulness and awareness. I’m also trying to work in a few deep breaths when I feel a negative thought: pause, breathe, re-evaluate. Again, easier said than done but I know if I can make it a part of my routine I will be able to make it stick!
Make a list
This one is especially true if you’re feeling the effects of imposter syndrome. For me, this is always comparing myself, or a project I’m working on, with someone who has it more together/is more successful/has a better Instagram account/etc. than me. There will always be someone out there who is farther along than I am and it’s damn near impossible not to feel like I’m coming up short when I look at someone’s dreamy pastel washed travel account on IG with 500K followers! My first thought is always “Just look at this! How can I even think I’m qualified to offer my opinion when this person is more experienced/well traveled/has a nicer kitchen than me?”
“Comparison Is the Thief of Joy” – Theodore Roosevelt
The truth is: it doesn’t matter what someone else is doing or has done. They are who they are and I am who I am. My experience is exclusively mine, as are my opinions and hopes for the future. There isn’t a finite amount of talent or drive in the universe so I need to chill out. Learning to appreciate others while supporting (and not comparing!) myself is a struggle that is so real but I’m working on it!
Someone had also suggested to me to put together a list of things I’ve done that I’m proud of (can be this week/month/year/whatever) and keep it somewhere that I can look at it. I am still working on mine but it’s going into my planner and my goal is to use it to remind myself of what I’ve done when I’m feeling less than. I am also in the habit of writing something I need to hear on a Post-it note and putting it on my monitor. This lets me be reminded all day.
Remember: progress, not perfection
I remind myself of this daily. Write it down, remember it and repeat it. Nothing happens in one day and no changes are immediate. I am learning to recognize and support what I’ve accomplished and allow forgiveness for the ways I’ve stepped back. Learning comes from mistakes as well as success and those steps back allow space for reflection and growth! In my very first post I talk a little about this and my constant attempts at maintaining my balance.
For me, the biggest thing I try to remember is this: I am unique, with my own abilities, knowledge and challenges. This means that I can’t compare myself to anyone else in a negative way. Loving and supporting myself is necessary and I’m confident I’m taking steps towards making it more of a habit.
I would love to hear how you’re showing yourself kindness and what works for you! Please comment and let me know.