Be healthier, be happier, be richer, be more popular, be smarter, be faster, be more admired. Our culture has become fixated on unrealistic expectations of what we should be. We spend so much time and energy and money on squishing ourselves into these societal silhouettes (which for the most part, are uncomfortable as hell) that we forget it’s ok to just … be. To really be the best we that we can be – we need to be kinder to ourselves. We put a lot of pressure on each other to be kind to others, so why do we not extend that same courtesy to ourselves? When we focus our attention outwards, we give ourselves permission to stop focusing inwards, which is great if you don’t like dealing with yourself, but why don’t you? You are glorious.
Bare necessities. Eat well, sleep more, drink lots of water. Three easy things to take control of yet most of us struggle with at least one of them. Food is fuel and we need nutrients to function well and to perform at our best. Sleep is important, and a very large percentage of us are not getting the required amount of restorative sleep that we need. Between 7 and 9 hours are required each night to let our bodies regenerate and repair themselves.
Internal dialogue. Be careful of how you speak to yourself, after all, you are listening. Berating ourselves or punishing ourselves with our thoughts is not helpful. We all make mistakes and the past cannot be changed. Resolve to do things differently next time, and let it go.
Respect yourself. Value yourself for who you are and don’t let others dictate your value. People tend to project their insecurities and doubts without always realizing it (though some do and that is their issue, not yours). To protect myself from psychic vampires I visualize a full-length mirror between me and whoever I feel is being particularly difficult. That way their negativity bounces back onto them and leaves me free to get on with me being me.
Feel your feelings. This is not always easy, because a lot of us are told at some point or another that we shouldn’t feel a certain way. If you feel sad, feel sad. But remember that there is a difference between being angry and feeling angry. It takes some practice but I remind myself that I feel frustrated, not that I am frustrated. My feelings don’t define me, but it is important to let them have their moment (especially the uncomfortable ones) so that they can do their thing and be on their merry way.
Be a little bit selfish. I’m not suggesting crushing other peoples dreams to make yours happen – only psychopaths do that – I’m saying it’s ok to take care of your needs first before attending to someone else’s. How are you expected to give anything of yourself if you have nothing to give?
Forgive yourself. This is a tricky one but it is so important. We can be so incredibly, excruciatingly hard on ourselves and for what? Reminding myself how much I sucked at something isn’t going to make me want to try it again. Instead I cultivate fear, and insecurity and an unwillingness to learn. Perfection does not exist. And if perfection doesn’t exist, then neither does imperfection.
Being kind to others is easy. Being kind to ourselves is not so easy, but we will work on that.