Six Ways You Can be Nicer to Yourself
In the words of Jennifer Dukes Lee, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” We’ve all seen this quote splashed across social media, but how many of us are really putting it into practice? It turns out, not many.
Showing compassion and being kind to others is drilled into us from such a young age, but what about being kind to ourselves? Finding fault with yourself and criticising yourself makes you far less likely to be happy, and considering only three in 10 people are actually happy with their lives, there’s no doubt lots of people go home and try to figure out ways to improve themselves and their lives.
There’s nothing wrong with self-reflection and working on being a better person, but the problem arises when it’s at detriment to your mental wellbeing. Sure, your life could perhaps be better in some aspects, but when it comes to you as a person, are you really that bad? Probably not, which makes self-kindness all the more important.
If you’re struggling with it, here are six ways you can be nicer to yourself.
1. Speak to yourself as if you were speaking to someone else
When you feel like you’ve done something wrong or you’re not happy with yourself, it’s a good idea to treat yourself as if you were someone else. Imagine someone else did the thing you did, what would you say to them? Would you berate them and verbally abuse them for hours or even days on end? The answer is probably no, so why would you do it to yourself?
2. Reward yourself for the small wins
Big wins in life don’t happen relatively often, but that doesn’t mean you should punish yourself because you haven’t had a big accomplishment recently. There are lots of small things in life that can and should be celebrated, such as completing a busy week at work, doing something you’ve been putting off for a while, cooking a meal from scratch or even doing your laundry. These might not seem like things you should celebrate, but sometimes, it’s the smallest things that can have the biggest impact on your life, and anything that makes a positive difference should be celebrated.
3. Run through all the things you like about yourself
It’s always easier to pick out the things you don’t like about yourself than the things you do like, but it’s important to try and remember the positives. You’re not a bad person and there will be things you like about yourself or are good at, and it’s worth focusing on those things whenever you’re feeling a bit down. Whether it’s that you’re an altruistic person and regularly volunteer at a charity or donate sadaqah, or if you make a cracking Victoria sponge cake, there’s something you’re good at and there’s always something you should be proud of.
4. Accept that perfection isn’t attainable
You wouldn’t expect your friend to be perfect and so you shouldn’t expect yourself to be perfect, either. No one is good at everything, no one says the right thing all the time, and no one has productive days everyday either. It’s okay for things to go wrong, to have lazy days and to occasionally say the wrong thing at the wrong time. It’s what makes us human and not robots. Once you accept that you and no one else in the world are 100% perfect, you’ll stop beating yourself up about the small things.
5. Don’t doubt yourself
We’ve had those moments when we feel like we’re not up to the task. It might be that you’ve been tasked with a big presentation at work, cooking a family meal for 12 people or driving across the country for the first time ever. Whatever it is, if it’s new, it’s normal to feel like you can’t do it, but it’s important that you build yourself up instead of tearing yourself down. You CAN do it, just take it step by step. Believe in yourself – other people do.
6. Smile in the mirror
A friendly smile can change someone’s day instantly and make them feel happier, so why not smile at yourself in the mirror every morning? Smiling can reduce your blood pressure, reduce stress levels and even strengthen your immune system. There’s so much to be gained from smiling, so even if it doesn’t make you feel happier, it will certainly help you in other, less-obvious ways.
Even if you try just one of these things, as long as you’re a little bit kinder to yourself, life will be better.