Your New Year’s Resolutions’ Key Missing Ingredient: Self-compassion
Why is it so easy to be kind to others, but not ourselves? We can listen to our friends’ problems for hours on end, and reassure them that everything will be OK. We encourage them to be strong and remind them how amazing they are. While we effortlessly tell others to love themselves, it becomes increasingly difficult to follow our own advice, especially during times of disappointment.
We often view our disappointments and mistakes as results of our own shortcomings. Whether it’s doing poorly on an exam or having an argument with a coworker, we tend to allow our negative emotions to weigh us down, which prevents us from maintaining a strong sense of self-compassion. Self-compassion is essential for us to properly deal with life’s challenges. Being self-critical is damaging not only to our mental health, but to also our physical health. Studies show that people who regularly show self-compassion also live healthier lifestyles- frequently working out, eating well, managing stress, and getting enough sleep. Loving ourselves is a lot easier said than done. How can we learn to be kinder to ourselves?
1. Learn how you can improve.
It’s easy to bury your insecurities and pretend that they don’t exist. However, the longer we continue to deny that we are not kind to ourselves, the longer we face the damaging thoughts that pervade our minds. Be aware of your thoughts, and push out the negative ones. Literally kick the thoughts that do not serve you out of your head by telling yourself and visualizing, “I’m kicking you out of my mind.” And then think about something that makes you feel happy or grateful to replace the thought. You can assess your own self-compassion by taking this quiz.
2. Have the confidence to focus on you.
Many people think that by taking the time to focus on yourself, you are not making time for others. The opposite is true. Those who can love themselves and truly focus on knowing themselves can develop deeper relationships with loved ones. By grounding yourself in a baseline of a happy, grateful, and confident you, you can then become your best self around others, more authentically you. And there is not greater high than trusting yourself.
3. Write a love letter to yourself to retrain your thoughts.
Remind yourself of all of your amazing qualities. Get out a piece of paper, and write down 10 things that you love about yourself! Having trouble thinking of all 10? Before you write your own letter, team up with a friend and write affirmation letters to each other. Sometimes it’s easier to remember how incredible you are when someone reminds you first ☺
Remember: It’s a lot more productive to be your own ally, rather than enemy, in the face of life’s challenges.