[Topic decided by my kitwithkat Facebook group: a lesson I’ve learned on one of my journeys]
This was one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned on my journeys—being kinder to myself.
That might not seem like a big deal, but I was my own harshest critic. I had voices in my head that were very judgmental, filled with fear and doubt, and constantly put me down. They were telling me that “you aren’t good enough”, “you can’t do it”, “you don’t deserve that”, “you can’t get what you want”, “who do you think you are”, “just give up”, “no one cares”, and so much more. That’s why I wrote the blog post “Purge negative thoughts and self talks“, because I had to go through that myself. They still pop up at times, but I’ve learned to turn down the volume or just let them go.
I thought by having higher standards for myself and having all that negative self talk pushed myself to be better and stronger. But it was exhausting and depressing being exposed to that all the time. After experiencing the two types of feedback—criticism or encouragement, I definitely enjoy encouragement so much more.
By filling my mind with more positive and encouraging self talk, I felt so much better about myself. It became easier to move forward even when I encountered challenges. When I failed or received negative criticism, it didn’t seem to affect me as much as before. It felt easier to see my failures as feedback instead. Without carrying all that negative baggage, there was less judgment, which led to less discouraging hurdles to jump through to get to my goals. The best part was that I just became happier overall.
I had someone ask me once, “were you always this happy or was it something you had to work on?” Without even thinking, I responded, “it was something I had to work on.” Sure, I naturally had the inclination to look on the brighter side, but I believe this is something that can also be trained as well. Honestly, after being burnt out for so long, it was harder to be positive. I had to heal all my burnt wounds before I could truly feel happy again.
And it all starts with being kinder to yourself. Kindness is the greatest gift in the world that you can give anyone, so why not give it to yourself?
Why does it seem so much easier to be kinder to other people, but not to yourself? Was it because you were told to be humble and not self-centered when you grew up? Being selfish was “bad”, so that meant I couldn’t be kind to myself first. And as a woman, it was like we were trained to be giving unconditionally and put others before ourselves. I had to change those perspectives. I had to see that I am important and that it is crucial to take care of myself first. That turned into building my own self worth. Instead of expecting others to fuel my value, I developed the ability to see my own worth.
The benefits of being kinder to myself just snowballed into so much more. And this is why I am so grateful that this was one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned. So please be kinder to yourself as well, and see how that starts to change your life for the better.