My psychologist asked me. Logically I know what it means. But I find it really hard to believe and practise.
Two sessions ago, she asked me in response to a story, “What would you say if it was your best friend?” As I started to reply, tears began welling in my eyes. An instinctual response to the act of being kind to myself and how foreign it feels. A new way of thinking that threatens the walls and habits I have built up for protection.
Self-care is the latest buzz word but it’s important to acknowledge the different types, and I’m focusing on emotional/psychological self-care.
For me, being kind to myself means being patient. It means giving myself the space to experience emotions but also holding my own hand when I’m spiralling, supporting myself to know that everything is going to be okay. It’s knowing the things that fill my cup and allowing myself to prioritise it guilt-free. It means showing up the same way in the how I talk to myself. Echoing my psychologist, “You wouldn’t say something mean to a best friend because you care about them, so why is it worth hurting the most important person in your life?”
It means unapologetically standing up for my boundaries, supporting myself with the confidence to do so and knowing that I deserve it. Not only to other people, but also to myself! Being my own advocate, cheerleader, the angel on my shoulder that guides me.
And it means forgiveness. Giving myself the chance to come back from mistakes and fallbacks without guilt and shame. Stopping this cycle of self-disappointment that surfaces old habits of negative self-talk that tries to define me and protect my ego.
My new goal is to be disciplined and resilient in Self Kindness, specifically in the way I talk to myself. This year I focused on slowing down and adjusting the pace I live my life. Now I need to extend this self-care to truly reframing my thoughts and feelings to be healthier, kinder and more sustainable. It’s not just about ‘protecting’ myself in the short-term, but what’s truly better for my growth in the long-term.
What does being kind to yourself mean for you?