To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance. Oscar Wilde
In the busy society that we live in, we often forget to stop for a second and show love to ourselves. Especially when romanticized love is emphasized, it is important to think of ourselves, too.
Do you remember to spend some quality time with yourself; do you let others know when they hurt your feelings? Do you stand up for yourself and unconditionally believe in yourself?
Self-kindness means acting in kind and understanding ways towards ourselves. Halt and appreciate everything that you have managed to complete today. Give yourself credit for everything that you do and celebrate everything that you are.
Self-kindness has positive consequences for several aspects of our well-being, including greater happiness, optimism, life satisfaction, wisdom, curiosity, and connectedness with others.
Here are some ways in which you could celebrate and love yourself. Beware, the list grew in my own mind and contains what being kind to yourself means to me.
1. Forgive yourself for making mistakes
Instead of beating yourself up for not doing everything right, you could try to accept your faults and learn from them. As an alternative to being critical, try to be supportive and warm toward yourself. Everybody makes mistakes on the path of learning – it is literally often just how we learn to do better.
Besides, you already made that mistake. Notice made is in the past tense. The mistake is in the past now – there is no good coming from stressing over what already happened. Instead of focusing on what you have done wrong in the past, try to focus your energy on doing better tomorrow.
2. Thank your body for all that it is capable of
Your body is amazing. Notice how it lets you breathe and move around. Everybody’s body might be a bit different in how it responses to training, rest, stress, or fatigue. Learn to appreciate what your body can do and try to notice how your body fights to keep you well and alive.
My favorite exercise to acknowledge and appreciate my body is simply some yoga stretches, sun salutations, or simple breathing exercises. Focus on your muscles and your sensations to see and learn how your body works.
3. Treat yourself
Treat yourself to me does not necessarily mean you should go shopping and buy everything you stumble upon. For me, it means doing something that I love and to make an effort for myself. It means to prepare my favorite lunch or bake my favorite cake. It means to do what I have been wanting to do for some time now, like put a face mask on my face, do a pilling, or take a bath.
However, it does not have to be spa day either, the key is to do just whatever you would like most – it can be being lazy for a day, eating popcorn, and watching Netflix. On the other hand, some might be more than thrilled to have a day in nature, maybe hiking or swimming in a nearby lake …
Figure out what it is you want to do on your day off and do it! Treat yourself and remind yourself how much you care.
4. Be grateful for what you have
Especially in the capitalist society, everybody is wanting more and nobody is taking time to think about what they have.
This is your opportunity to think about everything that you have and are grateful for. For all the happy memories, incredible friends, and people in your life, good times, for your knowledge and your virtues.
It may not always be easy but I bet there is something you can be grateful for every day; maybe a ray of sunshine or some good music that you just discovered on YouTube.
If you want to, you can write down what you grateful for. If you do it regularly, you might find it improves your everyday mood and affect.
5. Remember to rest and recover
Just as rest is vital with training and exercise, it is vital with everything else that we do. You might be having a lot going on in your life right now and it is especially in stressful moments when it is most important to take a second to step back and rest.
Learn to notice when you are feeling more tired and fatigued than usual and take a day to recover. A day off can help us reenergize and recover and it could be absolutely essential to find the motivation to continue the next day.
On days of rest, I suggest you think about what you have already accomplished and try to be thankful for everything that turned out right for you. Rest days are also the perfect moment to reevaluate your goals and reconsider why they are important to you.
Recovery is essential in stressful and anxious times. After getting things done, take a moment for yourself and do something that you love. Do something that will take your mind off things. Some quality time spent will also help you be ready for whatever else is coming.
6. Learn to say no
Parents often forget to teach us this one. They usually emphasize kindness to others but it is important to consider ourselves, too, and love ourselves enough to say no.
Set boundaries and speak out if somebody crosses them. Know your worth and learn to choose yourself over others sometimes. Realize that you do not need to do everything others ask you to. Sometimes you can and should say no and do something for yourself instead.
Always say no if you are feeling uncomfortable. The only person you are always obliged to is yourself.
7. Laugh about embarrassing situations
Everybody lands in awkward situations sometimes. It could be about an unpredicted encounter with your ex-lover, an odd conversation with a stranger, or a coffee date with someone that you used to know.
It might be something else completely, like falling during your run, or your bra slipping down when jumping on the stage, or using the weight machines wrong in the weight room. Truth is nobody is really paying as much attention as you might think.
Moreover, if you have been in an embarrassing situation with somebody, it is very likely they blame and focus their critique on themselves, and have completely forgotten you have been involved too, just as you did with the other person.
The spotlight effect is the tendency to think that more people notice something about you than they do. It is because of egocentrism and our entire existence being based on our own perspective and experiences. We see others through our own way of seeing the world. Similarly, others are the center of their own universes too, and in turn, are focused on other things.
Therefore, stop beating yourself up about what you said or did in that awkward situation you found yourself in. Instead, try to think about the absurdly funny aspects of it and laugh about it!
8. Recognize your talents
Instead of focusing on what you cannot do, appreciate all that you can do. Everybody has some talents – they might be hidden right now but if you continue to take care of yourself and make an effort to get to know yourself, those talents should soon be revealed.
Be aware that talents are different. Some might be excellent piano players; others may be extraordinary athletes or physics geniuses. Your talent could be something completely different like being good at listening to people, being patient or organized, or taking really good care of pets.
Talents differ from one person to another but I am sure everybody is good at something and even though it might take some time to find the thing that you are good at, I know you will find it.
9. Learn that failures do not define you
Although we all would want to be perfect, failures are a part of everybody’s life.
Failures and mistakes do not define you. It is what you do after failing that tells a lot about you. And this is precisely the reason why you should not give up on yourself after failing but rather think about how this mistake can help you grow and gain some new insight.
Remember that you are not your failures. You might fail a test or fail someone, but this is in no way a part of your identity. Thinking about failures as opportunities to grow and become a better person will have an ameliorating effect on your self-image.
10. It’s OK to have a bad day (or two)
You are just a human and not programmed to spread happiness and be content every day. Things happen and rainy days come, but in days of darkness, you just need to remember that the sun will rise again. And you can try again the next day.
Even more importantly, you have to forgive yourself for not being able to do your best every day. It happens to everybody. Take a break to recover and refocus your energy.
After a bad day, even worse days might come but be certain that it cannot go on forever. It is bound to be sunny again at some point soon.
This is how I practice kindness and love for myself. Nevertheless, everybody is different and what fits me might not fit you. To find what would work best for you try to think about what you need and how are you already taking care of yourself. Ultimately, imagine what would you say to a friend if they were in your situation and try to behave in this exact way toward yourself.
How are you kind to yourself? Share your practices with my readers and me.