by Linda-Ann Stewart
What is your relationship with yourself? Is it adversarial or hostile? For instance, when you make a mistake or fail, are you your own worst critic? You may think that putting yourself down, berating or criticizing yourself will help you do better the next time. But it doesn’t.
Instead, because you’re focusing on what you did wrong, you’re simply setting yourself up to repeat the behavior. And rather than taking care of yourself, you become stressed and frustrated with yourself. This may lead to indulging in self-destructive habits like procrastination, overeating, excessive drinking and more.
Your relationship with yourself is reflected in your relationships with others. If you judge yourself severely, you’re going to attract others who do the same to you. How you treat yourself determines the kind of treatment you’re willing to tolerate from others. You’ll allow people to disrespect, insult and take advantage of you, because you think that’s normal. This can negatively affect your personal and professional relationships, holding you back from achieving your goals and being successful.
Just because you’ve done something wrong doesn’t mean that you are bad. Rather than being so hard on yourself, what if you were kinder to yourself? Research shows that when you’re nicer to yourself, you’ll experience less stress and anxiety. It also improves your sense of well-being, self-esteem, self-worth and your relationships with others.
People who are kinder to themselves have greater motivation to pick themselves up and try again. When you’re compassionate towards yourself, you’re able to accept yourself for who you are. This gives you additional energy and resilience to improve on your weaknesses and make better decisions in the future.
Shifting your viewpoint makes all the difference. By taking a more realistic view when something upsetting happens, you can put it into perspective and realize that you’re not perfect. You’re simply a human being doing the best you can with the knowledge and resources you had at that time.
When you’re kinder to yourself, you support yourself and your endeavors which allows you to reach your goals. You become more patient with yourself and become more confident. You can cultivate self-compassion by making some easy changes in the way you treat yourself.
Ways to Be Kind to Yourself
1. Use positive self-talk. Give yourself uplifting messages, especially when you realize you didn’t live up to your potential. Tell yourself something like, “It’s okay. I’ll do better next time.” Or, “I am capable and have what it takes to succeed.”
2. When you make a mistake, encourage yourself. Treat yourself as if you were a good friend. Be understanding of what happened and why. Mistakes are the way you learn. You can say, “Everyone makes mistakes. I can learn from this and move on.”
3. Write 3 things you appreciate about yourself every day. It shifts your focus to what you’ve done right in your world. This builds self-acceptance and shows you that you support yourself. You inspire and motivate yourself when you pay attention to what’s good about you.
Self-compassion can improve your relationship with yourself. Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you will ever have. You’re the only person you’re with every hour of every day. Why not treat yourself well, which is what you deserve?
The Universe loves and approves of me, just the way I am right now. I realize I’m a spiritual being having a human experience, and as such, I’m not perfect. I do the best I can with the knowledge I have at the time. But I have the capability to grow, learn and be better. I’m kind to myself, and view myself with the same compassion that the Universe does.
Watch the accompanying video, Self-Compassion Can Help Tame Your Inner Critic.