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How To Be Kind (To Yourself)

From treating yourself like your own best friend to pausing and processing what's going on, these are the 6 essential lessons every self-critical over-achiever needs to learn about the Art of Being Kind To Yourself.

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From treating yourself like your own best friend to pausing and processing what’s going on, these are the 6 essential lessons every self-critical over-achiever needs to learn about the Art of Being Kind To Yourself.

Well, there’s never been a year in my lifetime that I’ve been more glad to see the back of:  goodbye 2020 and hello 2021!  Normally, a new year brings all sorts of New Year’s Resolutions: be better, do better, lose weight, get fit and the like.  This year, I suggest you eschew all of those in favour of just one, one that may indeed be the hardest to stick to and the most challenging to achieve.  What is this one resolution?  To be kind to yourself.

In Yogic philosophy there is a concept called Ahimsa, traditionally interpreted to mean non-violence or non-harming.  It’s why many yogis are pacifists and vegetarians.  Ahimsa is also interpreted to mean kindness. And that means to you as well.  

With regards others, you can see how treating people with kindness, not getting angry, not being short-tempered or abrupt and being respectful is a very good idea.  But kindness to ourselves is also hugely important to not just our physical but mental wellbeing.  In the same way that we need to treat our bodies with respect, so to we need to respect our minds.  

We are often our own worst enemies, beating ourselves up when we make a mistake, putting ourselves down, obsessing over the one thing that went wrong instead of celebrating all the things that went right.  This year, I urge you to remedy this behaviour and resolve to be kind to yourself. 

I realise this may be a departure from the norm, especially in driven, ambitious, high-achieving professionals so if you are wondering how on earth to do this, here is my list of essentials:

  • Treat yourself as if you were your best friend.  How would you support your best friend if they were upset or feeling down?  Do the same thing for yourself.
  • Pause & Process.  Take 5 minutes to stop and process what’s going on inside.  Don’t ignore your feelings, spend time unravelling them and understanding what is going on.  Respect yourself and how you feel.  I don’t believe there’s a right or wrong with feelings.  They just ARE.
  • Forgive.  If you make a mistake or say the wrong thing, forgive yourself.  Remember, ‘to err is human, to forgive, divine’.
  • Celebrate.  Concentrate on achievements rather than looking for the negatives.  Remember to celebrate the small wins as well as the big.  Even if it’s something very simple.
  • Acknowledge the good things about yourself.  If a compliment comes your way, accept it graciously.  Let it sink in and allow yourself to acknowledge that you deserve it. 
  • Say something kind to yourself every day.  Oh, how hard this can be!  But just like learning an instrument, practice makes perfect so put your mind to it and see if you can do this every day for a whole year.

I would love to hear from you and your ways of being kind to yourself.  Please do post comments on my linked in page or on Instagram @tracyforsythcoach.

For my career coaching and wellbeing workshops and newsletter, please visit walterwootze.com

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