During the past two years, Kela and I have been on two individual journeys that have proven to be not just rocky but could be looked upon like a full-fledged avalanche. While Kela was busy kicking very serious bout of postpartum depression, I was trying to be my mother’s the caretaker, provider and backbone while she went through treatment for a rare form breast cancer. For both Kela and I, there were anxiety filled days, tears and lots of prayers. Through all of that, both she and I really learned to not only grasp the notion of being kind to ourselves but to incorporate it as a part of our daily lives.
You might ask how someone would get to a point where they would actually need to be kinder to themselves? For example, as women, we tend to judge ourselves way too hard. We set our expectations way too high in many areas of our lives and when we realize that they are unattainable we beat ourselves up for failing to achieving same. Self-judgment is probably the greatest area of concern and one that I also struggled with but made the conscious choice to let go of after my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2012. Funny how the things we think are so important, and that which we worry about and let consume us, really aren’t that important in the whole big scheme of things. When real circumstances enter your life that you simply have to accept that you have no control over, that’s when all of the little worries fly right out the window. I decided after going through this life-changing experience with my mom that I would no longer be unkind to myself with self-judgment.
Here are a few simple suggestions to help you appreciate and be kinder to yourself:
- Eliminate negative self-talk. Instead of beating yourself down when you gain those few extra pounds, replace your inner critic by choosing to evaluate what might be happening at the moment (i.e., are you feeling sad or depressed or could there be a medical issue that you aren’t aware of? etc.). Using harsh words with yourself make you feel worse and don’t get you resolutions.
- Love yourself on purpose. You are unique, beautiful, strong and you by reaffirming the qualities that others see in you will help you love yourself on purpose. This is so important. Treat yourself to a manicure, pedicure, a trip to the hair salon or even catching a Zumba or Yoga class with a friend. Your body is your temple and you need to appreciate and love it.
- Invest in your friendships. Listen, we all desire to have that quality bonding time with our spouses and/or significant others but the fact remains that there is nothing like having a girls-night out or even a more intimate dinner and movie or watch a musical at the local theatre with your best girlfriend. For example, I have three boys and a husband and so does Kela. I want girl time and I want it with someone who I can relate with, have fun with, laugh with and yes, even cry with if need be.
- De-Stress. Find a little corner in your home that you can have all to yourself and spend alone time with yourself. Watch an old re-run of “I Love Lucy or Happy Days” and have a good laugh. Taking a nice, long, warm bath is also a great destress technique. I find taking in a good soak by candlelight helps me destress, relax, relieve tension and process the day I just had. It allows me time to hear myself think. This time gives us that little “umph” we need to then good quality time with our family members.
- Show compassion to others. Some might be surprised that I listed this one. Well, it is proven that as we do more for others, we feel better about ourselves. Find some space in your life for volunteering or joining an organization that is close to your heart. This really does do wonders for your inner critic. It feels good to know your efforts are going to help others, but most importantly, it means so much more to those you are helping.
TMF Readers, reminding yourself that you are enough is one of the most important things you can ever do. The fact is we are all human beings with flaws, and we all like to kick ourselves when we are down but we aren’t so quick to be kind to ourselves. Be a supportive friend to yourself as you would others. YOU ARE ENOUGH! YOU ARE WORTHY!
Peace & Blessings,