Written by therapist Bria McCalpin

For a moment, think about how you show compassion or kindness to others. When you reflect on these actions, are you being purposeful or unintentional? Let’s consider how often we demonstrate generosity, consideration, and friendliness to others, then observe the frequency of the same qualities towards ourselves. There are moments we may not be aware of the thoughtfulness we can apply to ourselves in everyday life or when challenging situations arise. 

When you show yourself kindness, you can start building new and healthy habits that may shift your mood and how you respond to different events. Today, you will be introduced to lessons you can implement to grow in self-compassion when you are feeling stressed, anxious, or unhappy.

1. Recognize your worth to maximize yourself.

Realizing you are worthy and deserving of kindness sets the tone for being kind to yourself. It is one thing to think that you deserve to be treated well or happy, but it is another to know this. If you hold yourself to a standard that you deserve the best for yourself, that you are enough, you learn to value yourself. It can be difficult to apply this and there can be obstacles that get in the way, but think deeply about the value you have, because you do have value. Whether it is your ambition, selflessness, courage, empathy, or knowledge, look at the different values you have and why you have them. Use your values to uphold the new standard you set for yourself.

2. Worrying about what other people think can be limiting.

A common occurrence is concerning ourselves with what other people think about us. This hindrance is not usually empowering, but instead can be restricting or discouraging. It is the norm to want to be liked and respected, however, if we worry about how another person perceives us with everything we do, it can be overwhelming. Expect and accept that people will have opinions and thoughts, but in being kind to yourself, trust yourself in making your own decisions and forming your own thoughts, as well as not allowing others’ opinions to dictate your value. Additionally, surround yourself with people who are supportive and uplift you to help develop your sense of self and your confidence.

3. Negative self-talk is restricting your path of self-acceptance.

We have heard it said countless times that we are our own worst critics, meaning we typically judge ourselves more harshly than anyone else. What you tell yourself can either inspire or dissuade you. If you make a mistake or do something wrong, be conscious to tell yourself it is going to be okay then act accordingly. You are more than your mistakes or differences, so think about your past achievements to remind yourself of your good qualities. Lift yourself any chance you get. 

4. Show yourself that compassion is taking good care of yourself. 

This message can be taken in several ways. Demonstrating self-compassion can be forgiving yourself for something that happened in the past; it can be relaxing after a long day; or even believing in yourself. Compassion is putting yourself first and making choices that will make you happy. Treat yourself similarly to the way you will treat a friend. If you are hurt, angry, or lack motivation, be your own best friend and ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” Have a self-care day, go for a walk, try a new hobby, eat your favorite snack, watch a movie, seek a therapist, etc. Do what you can to take care of yourself.

5. Lean into your dreams and what motivates you. 

Let’s take some time to review your dreams. After that reflection, think about whether you honor those dreams or not. This means not dismissing them by saying they are not attainable or calling them silly. Take yourself seriously and turn your dreams into goals or intentions. Your dreams can serve as motivation and wanting the best for yourself. Believe in your abilities and judgment, which can be one of the grandest ways of showing yourself kindness.

You will always have a relationship with yourself, so why not make it a great one? Assuming you find it difficult to express kindness to yourself, remember what it feels like to be kind to others. Practice will also help, and though it may be awkward or uncomfortable, it will benefit you long-term. If you would like extra support, consider working with a therapist at Optimum Joy today.

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