I have noticed something about myself that I find very distressing. I am not very kind to myself. Specifically, I have a lot of internal negative self-talk. Last week after some particularly harsh criticisms of myself I realized that if anyone else had said such negative things to me I would be extremely hurt. In fact, that person would not be someone I would ever want to spend time with.
We all understand the importance of kindness but most of us focus on kindness to others. (I recently wrote this post about kindness to others.) Many of us practice a double standard where we are kind to everyone else but we beat ourselves up. With all of our responsibilities and all of the obstacles we face we often forget to take care of ourselves and that tolerance and understanding for ourselves is even more important than that we give outwardly to others. Allowing our inner critic to be cruel, particularly, when it is not offering anything constructive leads to a loss of confidence, motivation, and perspective.
Since I have realized that self care is an important part of stress management and the frequency of my tendency to be so down on myself now anytime I begin having negative self-talk I stop and ask myself if someone I cared about was in my shoes would I be saying the same thing to them. The answer is almost always no. Our confidence takes enough hits from sources beyond our control that we do not need to contribute to it with feelings of negative self worth.
This week let's be a little kinder to ourselves by stopping the negative self-talk. Do not say anything to yourself that you would not say to someone you love. Look for the value in where you are now in life and accept that it is okay to be exactly where you are. Be patient with yourself and look for positive ways to make changes. Realize that mistakes are a part of life and that you deserve to be forgiven for any mistakes you make.
I think that we will find that being more compassionate to ourselves will lead to us living a better quality of life and therefore also affect our ability to contribute to the happiness of others.