Kindness, according to the dictionary, is the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. The annual World Kindness Day reminds us to prioritise kindness in our lives, which usually means thinking about doing something kind for others.
Let’s not forget ourselves in this, however. We are often too busy being considerate and generous to other people that our own needs get lost in the process. We can be incredibly harsh on ourselves as we dash through our daily lives, berating ourselves for forgetting things, not doing everything perfectly, or maybe for just not feeling good enough.
Sometimes the critical voice in our head can be quite strict and mean to us – more like an enemy than a friend sometimes.
If kindness is lacking in your life, perhaps it’s time to reflect on how to change that. If you were your own best friend, and were being generous and considerate, how would you treat yourself?
We’ve come up with some thoughts on how you can do this…
- Book in some rest time
You might feel guilty taking some time out for you, as if you’re being lazy or selfish, and should be doing something productive with your time. But without some time for you, you won’t have time for others. Being there on demand for the world can leave you feeling depleted, as though your well has run dry. Taking some time out – even an afternoon, or an hour here or there – to do nothing can help to re-fill your well. Think of it as enjoying time rather than wasting time.
- Challenge your inner critic
This can be a tricky one, especially if your inner critic has a lot of power in your psyche. The critic can be like a negative script running constantly in one ear, telling you constantly that you’re not good enough and you have to be better. It can make you compare yourself unfavourably with others and leaving you feeling useless. To counter this inner critic, imagine you have an inner cheerleader whispering into your other ear. Every time the critic says something mean, say or write down an alternative version that is much kinder and more considerate. If you get into the habit of this, your inner critic won’t have quite as much power.
- Soothe your senses
How can you treat yourself so you feel pampered and valued? Only you will know the kind of self-soothing that helps you feel relaxed and revived. Think about your five senses and how you can soothe all of them. Perhaps there’s a great movie you want to watch, some music you love listening to, some lovely candles you’d like to light to fragrance your room, your favourite meal could be in the oven, and a luxurious bath could be waiting. These are just some of the ways you can soothe your senses and feel there is more to life than deadlines and duties.
- Forgive yourself
Give yourself a break. You’re human. You’re not perfect. Sometimes you’ll get something wrong. That’s OK. Forgive yourself and others for their flaws, and the whole world will feel a lot kinder.
If you’re struggling with the inner critic and could benefit from professional support in helping you to be kinder to yourself, then speaking to a therapist could help. You can book with one of our team by calling 020 8673 4545 or emailing [email protected]