Be Kind to Yourself
Updated: Apr 26, 2022
Has anyone ever said something to you that made you immediately defend yourself? Did they continue to do it over and over again? Did you continue listening to them after all the insults? Probably not. That is, unless it was YOU saying all the hurtful things. Sometimes our worst critic is ourselves.
Not sure if this happens to you guys, but sometimes I won’t reach my weight goal for the week or I’ll eat something I shouldn’t, and instead of just letting it go and getting back on track, I’ll start saying things to myself like, “You can’t do anything right” or “You’ll never be successful at this.” If anyone else were to talk to me like that I’d give them the business. Why is it that it’s ok for us to down ourselves when we should be the last person making ourselves feel bad? We let our inner voice say things to, and about, us that we would never tolerate from anyone else. That same voice can talk us right out of our goals, our passions, and our successes. How many times have you been doing well with your eating habits and all of a sudden get a craving for junk food? You don’t want to ruin your progress, but there is something inside telling you to do it. The next thing you know you’re giving in to your cravings for a week straight (it’s a slippery slope). I know from experience that as soon as I’m close to a weight goal that little voice gets louder and louder trying to temp me into backpedaling my success. It’s as if our minds are against change. When we’ve done things a certain way for years and years we are met with resistance from our own brains. Our bodies know what it needs, but our brains want to continue on the path that it’s used to. For us to overcome this way of thinking we have to create new habits and new routines. We have to quiet that voice inside that tells us we aren’t good enough to succeed. One way to stop that inner critic and begin to create a new way of thinking and living is to practice mindfulness. Being aware of each moment as it comes will help you to recognize when you aren’t being kind to yourself.
Introducing Mindfulness Into Your Life
If you’re ready to introduce mindfulness into your life, you could start by attending a class or by downloading a meditation app to begin practicing. There are also fewer formal approaches you can implement. Here are some top tips:
Choose a daily task that you will use to practice mindfulness. It could be when you’re walking, showering, eating, or winding down before bed.
Begin by focusing on the sensations your body is going through. Breathe slowly in through the nose. Allow the air to move downwards to your lower belly and allow your stomach to fully expand. Breathe slowly out through the mouth. Note the sensations you experience every time you inhale or exhale. Slowly, proceed with your chosen task with deliberation. Fully engage all your senses. Note every touch, sound, and sight. Savor each sensation. If you realize your mind is wandering away from the current task, bring your focus back gently onto the sensations you’re experiencing.
You can’t rush mindfulness. However, the more often you practice, the more you’ll find that it’s effective. Be prepared for the fact that it’ll usually take about 20 minutes until your mind starts to settle. Practicing the above techniques for short periods a few times a week is the best way to start, then you can work up to longer periods of meditation on more days of the week.
Our inner critic will always be lurking in the background, but if we can find ways to make it as quiet as possible, we will be much more at peace. When you start that “stinking thinking,” take a moment to be kind to yourself. No one should be making you feel bad about you, especially you. You deserve love and kindness. Make sure it starts within.