Being kind and compassionate to other people is often instinctive for most of us, but when it comes to giving ourselves the same treatment, it somehow seems much harder. We over-criticize ourselves in ways that we wouldn’t ever put upon someone else, and we don’t cut ourselves enough slack. But guess what? Being you is good enough. Instead of always trying to be something or someone that you’re not, you can make the conscious choice to move towards self-acceptance. This is such an important topic, one I’ve dedicated a whole chapter to in my book, Front Roe, but here I’m sharing some more tips on how to love yourself in the hopes that we can all try to be kinder and more compassionate, not just toward others but also toward ourselves. This piece just recently ran on The Newsette, which you guys have to subscribe to for the best daily news stories straight to your inbox.
Surround yourself with kind people:
If you think about it, you are the sum of the ten most present people in your life. So think long and hard about whom you share your time, thoughts and energy with. Sure you can’t pick every person in your life, but your friends, fitness instructor, pastor, assistant, barista and even your hairdresser are all people you can choose. Surround yourself with those individuals who are generally happy, welcoming, kind or inspiring.
Treat yourself how you’d treat others:
Self-compassion is quite literally treating yourself with the same feelings of empathy, kindness, and desire to help reduce suffering that you feel toward the people that you love. By turning these on yourself, you can create a judgement-free, safe space in which to care for yourself. Focus on your strengths, and don’t stress out about your weaknesses. Sometimes all it takes is a change of perspective to turn your shortcomings into successes.
Take your own advice:
We give great advice to our loved ones in times of hardship, but when trying to apply that to our own lives, there may seem to be some corruption of thought. When I find myself in a difficult situation, I think about what I’d say to someone I love if they were in my position. Often, this helps me to take a step back and evaluate my decisions in a more clear, objective fashion.
Criticism isn’t necessary for motivation:
Sometimes we assume that the only way to self-motivate is to give ourselves a harsh dose of tough love. Even if this method works sometimes, there are much better ways to inspire yourself to do better. For a start, give yourself credit and praise for those things you’ve already achieved. Recognise your own talents, and spend a moment taking pride in your successes. It may be something small, like having cooked a great meal for the family, finished your workouts for the whole week, handed in that college assignment, or nailed that presentation at work. We are so busy fixating on the tasks we have yet to complete, that we forget to pat ourselves on the back for how far we have come.
Make time for yourself:
Even if you can only steal three to five minutes a day for you time, DO IT! Think about taking care of yourself. Treating yourself. De-stressing. Breathing long, slow breaths. And being mindful. I know this sounds like a lot to take in at once, but focusing on these ideas for five minutes a day is totally doable. It might be that you take a walk, draw a hot bath, or just sit still on your favorite chair during this time. The point is, it’s important for your mental health. So turn that phone on silent (and place it in another room if it tempts you), push busy thoughts and worries aside, and slow the brain whirring. This can take some practice, but you’ll get the hang of it!
Invest in something that makes you feel happy, energised or calm:
Go for an exercise class, meet an old friend for coffee, go to your favourite park, cinema, or cafe. There is so much that we can do for ourselves to improve how we’re feeling, much of which will take little time or money. I love to get up early and go to a pilates class – for me, this is the best start to my day because I get to exercise and release all those endorphins, but also give my mind a rest. Both of these components truly set me up for the day ahead.
Looking for more inspo? Reading the right books can help get you closer to feeling more appreciative of who you are. Some of my favorites are Brené Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection”, “Start Where You Are” by Meera Lee Patel, and of course, “You Are A Badass” by Jen Sincero. Good luck on your journey to self love!
Shop The Look:
What I’m Wearing: Jumper by Free People, Jeans by Madewell, Shoes by Senso (similar here), Bag by Lizzie Fortunato, Earrings by Rebecca de Ravenel (similar here), Sunglasses by Pared Eyewear (similar here)