Being kind to myself has probably been my greatest challenge. I remained steadfastly convinced for at least 39 of my 55 years that I was a complete failure who did not deserve looking after – this despite bringing up two fabulous children, having a good career, getting excellent grades through school, college and university, having a set of supportive, loving friends and marrying an amazing man. This has slowly changed through a variety of means – life coaching; the Rediscovering My Life Program; finally recognising that it’s my own job to big-up my ego; and being intentional about my thinking. If there was a chance of being able to get a message back to the tall, leggy brunette with the beautiful hazel eyes that I was, I would do it in an instant. Though I do wonder what she would be like if she truly knew that she was enough, she was beautiful, she was very bright and highly creative, that she was very capable and how much other people would love her quick, quirky sense of humour and her instinctive empathy. Maybe those things might melt away in a wave of self-assurance, vanity and arrogance. I want to try to get this across to my children, but who ever listens to their mother until they’re a parent themselves? So I think I’ll just share this list of twenty dos and don’ts that seem to help me be and stay kind to myself in the hope that you might find at least one or two bits of encouragement in there.
- Don’t listen to that nasty voice that tells you how ugly, fat, unlovable, failing and stupid you are – it’s a lie.
- Don’t compare yourself to other people – they’re comparing themselves unfavourably too, you just don’t know it.
- Don’t think that you have to say yes to everyone and everything in order to be liked.
- Don’t think you’re not worthy of taking care of yourself.
- Don’t give up on whatever you enjoy about life – style, dancing, church, baking, reading etc. It’s important to your loved ones that you enjoy your life and feel happy.
- Don’t over-analyse situations. If someone has changed their behaviour towards you and you don’t know why, chances are it’s nothing to do with you so stop thinking the worst and discuss it with them. If someone is always negative towards you it might be time to step away or make it clear that you won’t put up with it.
- Don’t believe that just because you are not the perfect shape you should feel bad, guilty or like a failure – that’s not going to help you to improve physically or mentally.
- Don’t wait until you are so emotionally low you can hardly function before you get professional help.
- Don’t neglect getting support to help you through bereavements.
- Don’t give your whole life to your offspring – they leave eventually and then you’ll have nothing left.
- Do adopt a practice of relaxation via whatever you find the most appealing method.
- Do find a great psychotherapist who you feel an affinity with for support with your mental and emotional health.
- Do take care to see your physician for all your check ups and anything that you are unsure of – the sooner problems are nipped in the bud the better for your future physical and mental health.
- Do spend time with people who make you laugh. Laughing is so good for the mind and body.
- Do plan time to be with the people you love away from interruptions and distractions, doing something fun together.
- Do take at least one day off every week and don’t do chores, just have a nice time.
- Do spend time with good and positive friends regularly.
- Do explore your spiritual side – we often avoid doing so but that can leave a big unfilled gap in your life.
- Do find a personal style you are happy with and give yourself time each day to feel happy with the way you look – not for anyone else, for yourself.
- Do use those lovely treats people buy for gifts – bath oils; candles; body creams; beautiful soaps; perfumes – set aside time and indulge.
What do you do to be kind to yourself? Do register at the bottom of the page so that you can comment below, we’d love to hear from you. Right I’m just going to grab a glass of wine and lay on the hammock here at my lovely friend’s beautiful home in the hills of Wales and enjoy the view. Can you spot me in the photo?