Not only do we tend to be our own harshest critics, but we also tend to be less-than-kind to ourselves overall.
I have, for years, struggled with how my self-talk goes. One of those struggles has involved working with a lot of unkind and harsh things I think and say to myself.
Having kindness for myself has often been challenging. It gets overridden by less pleasant notions of self, which I need to not allow to dominate what I choose for how to live my life. But a lot of that tends to get connected to things that are outdated beliefs and values about myself.
Where do these come from? A lot of them are based on a combination of past experiences, as well as notions I absorbed from friends, family, teachers, and other people in my youth. If I am not mindful of that, my subconscious mind ends up taking the wheel. When that happens — and I do not take control of it — I can feel as though I am not doing as I should, and subsequently get annoyed with myself.
That, in turn, can lead me to anger and harsh thoughts and feelings towards myself. I am increasingly unkind to myself, and that harshness makes it harder to choose actions that grow my life and make it better.
Recognizing this is the first step in doing anything about it and practicing greater kindness towards myself.
To be kind to other people, it’s important to be kind to yourself, first.
Thoughts and feelings
Mindfulness accesses your conscious mind via thoughts, feelings, actions, and intentions. Within yourself, how you perceive life, the Universe, and everything, is then made up of your mindset/headspace/psyche. It is this combination that perceives reality in the here-and-now.
While intent and action are linked — and frequently tied to thought and feeling — thoughts and feelings inform you about where, what, how, who, and why you are. From there, you work out intentions and then act to create a result.
Overall, thoughts and feelings dominate everything about the notion of self. Either you think about things and develop feelings about what you are thinking — or — you feel things and then develop thoughts about the feelings. Then, because nothing in life is seldom that simple, sometimes you do both simultaneously.
When it comes to how you think and feel about yourself, it can be easy to skew negatively. You stew on the mistakes, errors, and other problems you’ve experienced and judge yourself harshly. Then, if you don’t practice mindfulness, this sinks into your subconscious — and complicates all attempts to work on making your desired choices in life.
Because of the nature of our society, and its tendency towards fear and judgmentalism, thinking and feeling harsh things about yourself is easy to do. This is why practicing mindfulness is so important.
Mindfulness puts you in control
Your inner being is divided into three parts. The unconscious, subconscious, and conscious.
· Unconsciousness is that which you do purely automatically. Overall breathing, swallowing, digesting, and similar things your mind and central nervous system do unaided.
· Subconsciousness is where your habits, beliefs, values, and overall sense of self exist. It is subconscious because you CAN access it — but largely don’t. Subconscious is passive, doing things by rote and routine.
· Consciousness is here and now. It’s your inner being, specifically your mindset/headspace/psyche sense of self. Conscious is active, choosing and deciding things in the moment.
While you have virtually no control over your unconscious mind, you have total control over your conscious mind. You can use that control in the moment, the here-and-now, to practice self-care and to make choices and decisions to be kind to yourself — rather than harsh with yourself.
Further, when you practice mindfulness and being aware of all the matters in your conscious mind — thus assuming control — you empower yourself to reach into and alter your subconscious mind.
Since your subconscious is full to overflowing with beliefs, values, habits, and the depths of your being, access to it is the key to making desired changes to your life.
Rather than let old beliefs, habits, and values continue to control you in the here-and-now, you can control them by accessing your subconscious mind via your conscious mind. To do that you need to employ mindfulness.
When you practice mindfulness, you take control. That, then, tells you if you are being harsh or kind to yourself.
Why kindness for yourself is so important
Do you like when someone is rude to you? What about when someone is condescending, harsh, or generally unpleasant? Do you like being judged, mocked, teased, and treated like a lesser being?
I presume the answer to all the above is no. This leads to the next question. Do you do, think, say, and/or feel these things to/about yourself?
Since I’m certain you are not a fan of such, then it goes to follow that doing it to yourself doesn’t go over well at all. This is why kindness for yourself is so damned important.
Despite messages of lack, scarcity, and insufficiency dominating our world — you are worthy and deserving. Of what? Everything.
You are worthy and deserving of the material and immaterial things you desire for your life. Nobody is on this planet in this time simply to exist. We’re more complicated animals than the rest, and as such we have the ability to thrive.
Humankind has made amazing progress over the years. Largely, the only thing that stifles it is humankind. We have created innumerable artificial differences and divisions, as well as emphasizing those that are not important.
You can be black, white, male, female, non-binary, gay, straight, religious, atheist, American, Chinese, and so on. It doesn’t make you more or less deserving and worthy of the things you desire for yourself.
One important caveat — what you desire and are worthy and deserving of is about YOU. It cannot impact negatively on someone else or selfishly deny them their rights and desires. If you desire and want another to suffer, struggle, or be denied good for themselves — that is the one thing that makes you unworthy and undeserving.
Kindness is a two-way street. Give it, get it, share it.
Kindness, empathy, and compassion are NOT weakness
I have written this before and will continue to do so until it sinks into the collective consciousness.
Despite what certain of our leaders say and imply, kindness, empathy, and compassion are STRENGTHS. They do NOT make you weak, lesser, unworthy, or undeserving. They empower.
Since nobody desires to receive meanness, indifference, disdain, and cruelty — how do they make ANYONE strong? They don’t. In fact, they make everyone weaker.
Giving/sharing kindness and its companions build strength all around. And that’s why kindness to yourself is so tremendously important. Being harsh and unkind in how you perceive, think about, and talk to yourself weakens you. Kindness, compassion, empathy, and the like make you stronger.
To get the most from your life, and be as empowered as possible, treating yourself harshly is never as effective as kindness. Mindfulness is how you can actively work with this to make your life as amazing as it has the potential and possibility to be.
In conclusion, I challenge you to write down 5 kind things ABOUT YOURSELF every day for a week. For the greatest impact, I recommend doing this at the start or end of the day.
Examples are as follows:
· I am a good person.
· I’m worthy and deserving of all I desire.
· People enjoy my company.
· I am hilarious.
· I deserve to choose things that make me happy.
· I am amazing.
· I’m an excellent friend.
You get the gist. Most of these, for the greatest impact, should be “I AM” remarks. The words I AM are conscious reality creators. What follows them tends to inform the Universe how you see yourself and what you desire that to look like.
Whether you believe in conscious reality creation and the Law of Attraction — or not — whatever follows I AM, and the like, is empowering.
Give the self-kindness challenge a go for the next week. When you write it out, SAY it, feel it (unironically) and see what that does. You have nothing to lose — and more empowerment and kindness to gain.
Do you recognize how important self-kindness is both for you and the world at large?