In the first post in the Inspire series, we are looking at self-kindness and compassion. It’s so easy in in day to day life, especially when you’re going through a tough time, to be very hard on yourself and to treat yourself badly. We wouldn’t dream of speaking to friends and family in this way, but we happily do it to ourselves.
We have too high expectations on ourselves at times, again, probably much higher than what we would expect of others.
People were constantly telling me to be less hard on myself, mainly when I would get frustrated at not being able to do as many things as I could before.
Early on in my condition, I found it incredible hard to give in to rest. I’ve always been someone constantly on the go, trying to get as much done in a day as possible so it was incredibly hard to have to stop and rest. Resting was such an inconvenience!
My family would tell me to treat myself with kindness, but I didn’t really know how to do that or even believe that I should. However, with time, I gradually began to see how much it was affecting me.
The first step in altering my mindset was to firstly notice when I was being unkind to myself. This was quite eye-opening as I didn’t realise quite how often it was happening.
The second step was to replace the negative voice in my head with a more compassionate voice. This is a good middle step if you struggle to be positive at first, because even just replacing the negative voice with a more compassionate message – e.g. You’re doing the best you can – can make a big difference.
The third step (which was quite tricky at first and took a lot of practice) was to try and treat myself in the same way that I would treat my best friend.
It took me a long time, but I came to realise that if I gave into this need for rest and listened to what my body needed, this was treating myself kindly and being gentle with myself, instead of pushing myself beyond my limits.
I actually think that relaxing into resting and speaking to myself with compassion and kindness has really helped me to physically heal, as I stopped wasting energy on negativity and fighting against what my body actually needed.
This concept of being kind and compassionate to yourself is so important, no matter what is going on in your life. Most of us live very busy, full lives with hardly any down time. We often feel guilty for taking a short time to just sit and rest or just relax and do nothing, but it is so vital to give ourselves this time.
It might be a case of dropping some of those non-vital things from your to do list, saying no when you don’t want to do something or embracing imperfection and dropping those high standards! Whatever you need to do to build in some time for you to relax and recharge.
What small changes could you make to become kinder and more compassionate to yourself?
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