I'm a big fan of kindness. Good, old-fashioned, ordinary kindness.
And I'm curious. Are you kind and patient with yourself?
Because there seems to be a shortage of self-compassion. So many people have a harsh inner critic voice they use on themselves, and it's usually a pretty unforgiving and strict one. People have really strange ideas about what it would mean to be gentle with themselves and sometimes I'm curious to know: "Do you love yourself?"
I've heard answers to that question ranging from a puzzled "Huh??" and "You're kidding," to discomfort, to a disgusted "GOD. NO!" It's kind of heart-breaking really.
It's like ... loving yourself is dangerous.
It's like loving yourself means you'll automatically become lazy, vain, unmotivated, cocky, etc. (We really don't trust ourselves much!) Plus it somehow feels vaguely threatening to others.
Even when people are naturally kind and encouraging to others they care about, like their friends, their children, and even their pets - when it comes to themselves? That's who they save the worst criticism for.
It probably feels weird or wrong, the very idea of doing anything other than beating yourself up for your perceived flaws and failures. But I promise: self-compassion is a faster and healthier way to grow and be happier. (And if you don't believe me, that's fine... but answer me this: how has shit-talking to yourself been working so far?)
I'm not saying it's easy to change a lifetime of mean self-talk.
But I am saying that there's a way to move the process along if you want to change your inner critic into a voice of kindness. And here's the one single most effective shift you can make:
Start hanging out with people who love and believe in you.
Then talk and share yourself. Listen to them, laugh and cry. Mess up. Ask for help. Be supportive. Ask about their successes. Celebrate them. Let them celebrate you.
Go in the direction of those who make you feel good. Trust me. Trust yourself.
There are 7 billion people on the planet, so you’ve got a lot of people to choose from.