‘You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.’ ̴ Buddha
Kindness has the power to make you happier, more motivated and more successful. Make your 2018 a better year by choosing one or more of these ways to be kind to yourself.
1. Fill your day with kindness
Throughout your day, ask yourself a simple question. ‘What is the kindest thing I can do for myself right now?’ Then listen for the answer. Usually, it will be something easy that you can do without taking too much time out of your busy schedule. Drink a glass of water, walk to work instead of taking the bus, sit in silence for a few minutes, call a friend. Go ahead and give yourself that little bit of kindness.
2. Give yourself permission to make mistakes
It’s impossible to go through life without taking your anger out on those close to you, letting fear stand between you and your dreams, saying too much, too little or the wrong thing altogether, betraying someone’s trust or telling a lie. No matter how hard we try, we all make mistakes. Don’t set impossible standards for yourself.
3. Notice your self-talk
Observe the way you speak to yourself, especially when things are not going your way. Whenever you catch yourself thinking something that wouldn’t say to anyone else, because it’s harsh or rude, stop and imagine how you would talk to a child or a good friend in a similar situation. Give the same love and support to yourself.
4. Celebrate your achievements
Whenever you achieve something big or small, notice it and celebrate it. Do a happy dance, take yourself out for lunch, do something you love or invite a friend to celebrate with you. For the moment of celebration, let it be all about you. You deserve it.
5. Keep your commitments to yourself
You are important. Your promises are important, even if no one else knows that you made them. Just as you would show up for work every morning, show up for yourself. The more you do it, the more you’ll be able to trust yourself and hold yourself in high regard.
6. Take time for yourself
There are activities you enjoy that may not seem productive, but recharge you and energise you deeply. Whether you do a weekly art class, quiet time to read a book or a weekend retreat, don’t feel selfish it and embrace that time fully. Your to-do list will still be there when you’re finished, and you will be a lot more effective in dealing with any situations that life throws at you.
7. Ask for help
Just as you would not hesitate to lend a helping hand to others, your friends and family, and sometimes even strangers, would be happy to help, if they knew what you needed. Accepting help doesn’t make you weak, incompetent or less independent, it makes you human.
8. Don’t try to implement this whole list at once
The surest way to overwhelm yourself and feel like a failure is to take on too much at once. Create change at a pace that feels good. Pick one practice. Once it turns into a habit, add another one, then another. It won’t be long before kindness towards yourself becomes easy and natural.
Tatiana is a freelance writer and a mum of three living in Sydney. After a 10-years’ break, she has just returned to full-time work. She is still finding time for yoga, meditation and mindfulness, which is making a huge difference to her sanity and her enjoyment of life.