Every year around the end of December and early January many people decide they are going to change everything they don’t like about themselves and that this is going to be the year it happens! First of all, you don’t need to change, you are great just the way you are. Secondly, that is too much pressure to put onto yourself. When you elicit permanent changes, they are most effective when started slowly so they can become habits.
It is important to establish realistic goals in order to set yourself up for success. For instance, if you want to meditate more understand that you most likely won’t be able to sit for 30 minutes and meditate after your first week of effort, but rather set a goal such as “I will meditate for 30 seconds by the end of the first week.” This might not sound like a long period of time, but if meditation is new to you it can be difficult to learn how to quiet your mind and find which style works for you. And believe me, your first experience of meditation no matter the duration will feel like a huge accomplishment. That being said, I am going to write one blog per month dedicated to a single suggestion of how to incorporate something new into your life. This month will be dedicated to being kind to yourself. If you would like to follow along with these ideas, I recommend writing your journey down so you can see how much you’ve changed over the year.
One of the best ways you can be kind to yourself is through your self dialogue. Whether you’re feeling down about putting on weight after the holidays or comparing yourself to others, recognize the negativity and replace that thought with something positive. Instead of focusing on the extra pounds, think of the fun you had with your friends and family. Rather than compare yourself to someone else, think of all of your wonderful accomplishments. There will always be moments when you doubt yourself worth, but just know that those moments are when you need to building yourself up the most.
Being kind to yourself also requires you to satisfy your needs. If you’re tired, find time to rest. If you’re hungry, give yourself nutritious food. When these needs go unmet, your body starts overcompensate causing you to not function at your best self. During this time you may begin to feel overwhelmed and burned out. Try scheduling in a few breaks so that you have plenty of time to replenish yourself.
Lastly, once you start treating yourself better you will be kinder to others. This will lead to higher self-worth and improved relationships with friends and family. When you start realizing how valuable you are as a person, you can rid yourself of toxic relationships giving you more time to concentrate on those close to you. Being kinder to yourself will also prevent you from being so critical of your perceived flaws, which will in turn decrease the amount of judgement you have towards other people. Kindness is something that when practiced, continues to grow.
You are the most important person in your life. Why not treat yourself as such? If this skill is something you wish to practice more of, start small. Accept that you are perfectly imperfect and that you will not master kindness after a few weeks. It will take time, but you will begin to notice many small changes in a short period of time. Be careful though, side effects of kindness are: happiness, acceptance, tolerance, and personal value. Enter at your own risk.