The Importance of Self Kindness as we come out of Lock-down
Updated: Sep 30, 2020
It’s a word we often hear thrown around these days, along with self-care, self compassion and self-love. But do we really know what it means?
Self kindness and self compassion are inextricably linked, they are bound together as a united front. They gift you with the ability to show yourself kindness in the face of adversity, especially at a time where suffering, failure and imperfection engulfs you, and makes you feel like you are ‘not enough’. At the moment this may be furlough, the isolation or stress of working from home, the risk of redundancy, health issues, the worry of family and friends. Self compassion is understanding that the feelings associated with fear, shame, guilt, failure, anger, ‘not enough’ are a part of the shared human experience, they come to us all at numerous points in our life. Now it’s what we do with them that counts. It’s befriending them, hugging them close, leaning in, and allowing yourself to feel them (sounds uncomfortable and pretty awful, I know). It’s then having the ability to accept them, being okay asking for external help if you need it, and trust that it will all be okay. Because YOU KNOW we all make mistakes, we are all imperfect, we are all human, and we all need the opportunity to learn. One of the best tips I use in my everyday life is to talk to myself like I would talk to those I love.
We are our own worst critics. This is a bold statement that I personally think connects us all. It is hard wired within our brain. Partly through our innate physiology and psychology, but it is massively influenced by our belief systems - created by our past experiences, our childhoods, the people we spend our time with and our environments.
If you have read the above paragraph and have spiralled into a feeling of hopelessness, rest assured like everything else, self kindness and compassion is something that takes practice. It is available to each and everyone of us. I truly believe that the uncertain time we face at the moment is the perfect time to embrace self kindness, we just have to be willing to make change and believe that we are worthy of it. The way we treat ourselves is totally in our hands, and making change is simple… Not easy, but simple.
The problem usually lies in our thought that the changes we make have to be gargantuan. What if I was to tell you that small, insignificant, consistent changes lead to gargantuan results? I am going to ask you to change one small thing at a time. And this is going to be completely unique to you. I want you to consider - what one thing you would you like to change from today? I will give you some examples, take notice of the second sentence of each bullet point:
I will turn my computer off at 8pm every evening. My time is valuable and important to me
I will cook my evening meal from scratch. It is important that I fuel my body well
I will commit to exercising for 15 minutes daily to look after my health and wellness
Every morning I will write down 3 things that I am grateful for. My mindset matters
I will take 2 minutes per day to write about a positive experience that has happened over the last 24 hours.
I will take 5 minutes to complete a guided relaxation to help me unwind, reduce my stress and protect my mental health (Headspace and Calm are my recommendations)
I will get up 30 minutes earlier in a morning to read or write or exercise or meditate or plan my day
I will consciously make more time for my friends. I will listen without distraction and I will be honest in how I am doing
In a society where we are smothered with pleasing, performing and perfecting, we often lose sight of ourselves in the whole equation. Yet it is self kindness and compassion that allows us to live our best life, to bring clarity, purpose and intention to our personal and work life, and to be at our most productive and happiest.
To show others true kindness, we must start by showing it to ourselves. We have to believe we are worthy and we have to start with one small change at a time.