How to Improve Your Life by Being Kind to Yourself


being kind to yourself

It’s been easy for me to criticize myself.  Usually, I do it by beating myself up for past mistakes–and the consequences I’m living with from those mistakes. But it doesn’t really change the past to dwell on what happened or how it turned out. These mental exchanges have only served to bring me down and make me feel discouraged. It’s largely not even big events I’m thinking of when this happens either. It can be as simple as a meal that didn’t turn out well, a misunderstanding in a conversation, or purchasing something I didn’t really need or couldn’t afford.

In my journey, I’ve learned three valuable lessons for being kind to yourself.

1. Forgive yourself for past mistakes.

I’ve not always been happy with my earlier self, which isn’t really fair to her; she was doing the best she knew to do at the time. I shouldn’t really fault her for not knowing what I know now. If she had known those things, she would have made different choices. Part of accepting yourself is forgiving yourself for past mistakes, realizing you have gained valuable information from them. Self-forgiveness is acknowledging the anger you feel for yourself and then deciding to release it by saying out loud, “I forgive myself for…..” It’s not the easiest thing to do but holding onto self-resentment keeps you stuck in the past and unable to see yourself as a new person making different decisions moving forward. Remind yourself that your heart has always wanted to do things well and to live generously toward others. {Tweet This}

2. Encourage yourself instead of berating yourself.

Looking at ourselves with a critical eye and having impossibly high standards feels like a good way to motivate us to change but it usually has the opposite effect. Just like a victim loses their self-worth at the words and actions of their abuser, we become less confident, ashamed, and feel insignificant when we rehearse our faults and failures. We are acting like an abuser to ourselves when we are hard on ourselves. Choose today to stop abusing yourself, because when a person feels encouraged, championed, and celebrated they want to keep rising and long to do even more. I have found that when I believe in myself: I will lose the weight I’ve battled, and I will get to the other side of that obstacle I’m facing. I’m more amazing than I realize, and people appreciate me more than I comprehend. Some of the ways I’ve learned to encourage myself are by posting motivating quotes on the bathroom mirror, keeping a music playlist of motivating songs, and looking at myself in the mirror to tell myself all the things I appreciate about myself. I refuse to let self-criticism have a voice with me.

3. Recognize that you have gotten yourself to where you are today.

Your process has given you much-needed tools for the next season of your life. And your future self has most likely already conquered the challenges you’re facing presently. She’s already gotten to the other side of those obstacles. Whether I succeed or fail, if I am kind to myself and refuse to quit, I will experience victory. I will overcome my fear of writing; I will find the confident woman within, and I will have discovered hidden strengths I didn’t know I had. So I will choose to be kind to myself and have compassion for where I’ve been and what I’ve been through. I will forgive myself for things I wish I had done differently. My future self is waiting for me, and I can’t wait to meet her!

How have you been unkind to yourself in the past? And how have you learned to forgive yourself?

Comments


  • S Sergis

    Always good advice but so inspiring when I am currently working on this very issue. The awareness was there and the article is providing the “how” to improvements I am making right now. Thank you!

  • melissa

    Oh my goodness! Thank you. I sit here with tears in my eyes after reading this. This article is what I needed to go forward. As a mom, for many years, I have not slept well and replay things in my mind every day. “Why did that happen? what could I have done different? Why didn’t I see what was going on? Where was I?” Your article has made me realize that I can’t go back. I have to forgive myself. That is harder than it sounds and I know it will take time, but with this article’s help, I see things as I should. I did my best at the time. I never did anything because I didn’t care. I wanted to do it right. That is what I have to remember. Thank you.

  • Cassandra Soars

    I’ve sent this article to two different friends today who struggle with being too hard on themselves. I appreciate how this piece walks someone through the “how” of being kind to themselves. There’s such wisdom and encouragement here.