3 Easy Ways To Be Kind To Yourself And Become More Happy and ProductiveJul 28, 2022
You’ve probably heard from your mother (or someone else’s) that you should be kind to others. Sure, that’s important, but it’s just as important (maybe even more so) to be kind to yourself. Because if you know how to be kind to yourself, you’ll be even better at being kind to others.
But the biggest reason I want to convince you to be kind to yourself is that it can make a huge difference in your life experience. Having a positive mental attitude is a fundamental component of building a life you love.
It’s damn near impossible to have a positive mental attitude if you treat yourself like an unworthy good-for-nothing low-life. Unfortunately, a lot of us have a habit of doing that.
So, how can you be kind to yourself? Here are three great ways to get started:
- Eliminate negative self-talk.
That means you have to start paying attention to a few things. For instance:
- Do you call yourself names (to others or in your head) when you make a mistake?
- Are you a perfectionist?
- Do you often feel disappointed or upset because you are not living up to your (possibly unrealistic) expectations for yourself?
All of these are related to negative self-talk, and they come from the bully in your head. The things your inner bully tells you about yourself can damage your self-esteem and productivity. If you engage in this kind of self-abuse (yes, it is self-abuse), I encourage you to start making some changes.
A good way to gauge whether your self-talk is positive or negative is by asking yourself, “Would I say that to a good friend? Or to a child?” If the answer is no, you shouldn’t be saying it to yourself either.
I mentioned that negative self-talk could lower your productivity. If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. We all avoid situations that make us feel bad about ourselves. If you are the one making yourself feel bad, then you will (maybe unconsciously) avoid doing things that cause your self-critic to engage. Then it can become a catch-22, where you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
- Start using positive self-talk.
This means making a conscious effort to speak to yourself with kindness and respect. So, similarly to how you gauge negative self-talk, you can ask yourself the same questions, “Would I speak this way to a good friend? Or a child?” If the answer is yes, then you are likely engaging in positive self-talk. The idea is to give yourself the same consideration you would give others or that you would expect and hope others would give you.
And, if you catch yourself being abusive, that doesn’t mean it’s time to beat yourself up for not being kind to yourself. It’s more effective to simply observe the behavior with compassion or to allow yourself to revise the content.
So, for example, if you catch yourself saying something like, “I’m such an idiot for forgetting to take out the trash,” you have an opportunity to revise it to something like, “I forgot to take out the trash because I had so much on my mind today. No big deal. I’ll take it out next week.”
The benefit of positive self-talk is that you aren’t stuck with someone who is constantly making you feel bad about yourself (namely YOU). It gives you a space to feel joyful and positive. And guess what, scientific studies have actually shown that happy people are more productive, more creative, more pleasant to be around, and a whole slew of other positive things!
- Reward yourself when you finish an important or challenging task
Do you reward yourself after completing a project or finishing a job… and doing it well? If you don’t, I recommend that you start. It should just be a small treat that doesn’t take a lot of time out of your day. Just something to make you feel good about the accomplishment.
Taking the time to reward yourself has the same effect as if you were getting it from someone else. We are encouraged to do things for others who reward us for a job well done. You foster a sense of inner satisfaction and motivation to keep up the good work by doing the same for yourself.
No one likes to be around someone who makes them feel unworthy or inadequate all the time. This goes for the voice inside your head as well (your inner critic).
When you make a conscious effort to treat yourself with kindness and respect by eliminating negative self-talk, engaging in positive self-talk, and rewarding yourself for a well-done job, you create a more pleasant working relationship with yourself, which makes space for more joy and productivity. So take the initiative to be kind to yourself and tell your inner asshole to piss off!
What are some of the ways you engage in negative self-talk?