Being kind to yourself involves treating oneself with compassion, respect, trust, understanding, and more emphasis on well-being. These helps an individual to build a positive relationship with one’s self and improve mental health and well-being. Let us explore how to be kind to ourselves.
What is the self?
Self is one in which you can truly know yourself. It includes one’s thoughts, beliefs, emotions, perceptions, memories, and experiences of the world around them.
From where the concept of self came?
The roots of the concept of self can be found in ancient philosophical and religious traditions, where the concept of a distinct individual self was first explored.
For example Greek philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato see the self as an important part of human identity and belief that has linked to reasons and consciousness. In religious traditions such as Buddhism and Hinduism the idea of self is explored in terms of the concept of “soul” or “atman”. The eternal and unchanging essence of a person. If we talk of more recent times the concept of self has further explored and studied by psychologists and sociologists. For example Carl Roger, the humanistic psychologist, in the 20th century, emphasized the importance of the self in personal growth and development. George Herbert Mead, sociologists explored how social interactions shapes one’s self.
How does self look like?
From a perspective of psychology the self looks like as a dynamic and constantly changing, shaped by both internal and external factors such as biological and cognitive processes, social interactions, and cultural influences.
Why self is so important?
For several reasons, the concept of self is important for both psychological and social perspectives.
Firstly, the self is a fundamental part of human identity and its healthy development help individuals to face the challenges and competitions of life. It is also helpful for personal growth and development.
Secondly, the self is important because it helps in understanding human behavior and motivation. Many psychological theories and models of behaviour says that much of human behavior can be explained by the need to defend or enhance an individual’s self-concept.
Thirdly, it is important to know and understand how one is related to others. How social interactions and relationships shapes one’s self.
Lastly, different cultures and societies had differences in understanding the concept of self. This create an important impact on the attitude and behaviour of an individual in the fields such as social justice, political systems and economic structures.
What does it mean to be kind to yourself?
Being kind to yourself means taking care, treating others with compassion, and understanding one’s self. It also involves being humble, gentle, and non-judgmental towards yourself at difficult times or when you make mistakes. It also means to prioritize your personal growth, needs, and well-being. Engaging yourself in activities that bring happiness, joy and, promote physical and emotional health. This can include practices such as self-care, self-mindfulness, self-compassion, and setting boundaries.
How to be kind to yourself?
Here are some activities which demonstrate how to be kind to yourself.
- Treat yourself: Treat yourself with your favorite things, what you always love to have.
- Don’t feel bad on making mistakes: Allow yourself to make mistakes and remind yourself it’s okay to make some mistakes as being human. There is always a chance to rectify those mistakes.
- Avoid negative self-talk: It only causes harm to yourself and makes you feel inferior to everyone who surrounds you. Give rise to self-doubt also.
- Give yourself time: Take out time to care about your physical, emotional, and mental health.
- Relax and Rest: Whenever you need or feel burnout, it’s totally fine to take a break for some time.
- Surround yourself with supportive people: People who help, support, and uplift you are good for your personal growth, mental health, well-being and self.
- Cherish your achievements: Celebrate your achievements which helps to boost your self-esteem and motivates you to keep going and growing.
- Ask for help and support: Seek your family and friends or mental health professionals for help, support, and guidance whenever you need it.
- Be patient to yourself: You need to be patient when you work to build a healthy and happy relationship with yourself.
Apart from above, there are 4’S which you can practice to show kindness to yourself.
- Self-care: A person voluntarily take care of their physical, emotional, and mental health. By engaging in this practice, an individual can improve their physical, emotional, and mental health. It is also helpful in reducing stress and building coping capacities to fight against the challenges of life. Examples of self-care: eating a balanced diet, exercising, relaxing, doing your favorite hobby, going out for a walk, getting enough sleep, etc.
- Self-mindfulness: Being mindful means becoming aware and paying attention to everything. It also means letting nothing occur without one’s conscious being aware of it. (McIntosh, 1997; Rosenbaum, 2009) Things you can do to practice mindfulness are:
- Making yourself to let go of your past and future thoughts: Enjoy yourself, but be in the present moment. Leave behind the regrets of the past and the tension of future.
- Show acceptance to your present: Without any judgment, accept the present moment you are in. It makes it easier to handle any situations you are going through.
- Meditation: One of the best methods to cultivate mindfulness is meditation and focusing on your breathing for 3 minutes. It will be also helpful in restoring your attention and can also do at work place, with 3 minutes of deep breathing.
- Make your senses active: Allow yourself to sense everything, what’s around you in the moment.
- Self-compassion: Giving yourself the same kindness, respect, and understanding that you would do with your close friends or loved ones the of difficulties. It is quite helpful in reducing self-criticism, increasing coping capacities, and improving well-being. This practice helps you to cultivate a compassionate relationship to yourself.