What is self-kindness? How do you show generosity to yourself? You can be kinder to other people if you can be kind to yourself. You need to be kind and generous to yourself before you can show kindness and generosity to others.
For most people, kindness, and generosity to oneself come naturally. Hence, it’s hard for them to understand when some seem to lack this. Sure it happens. You have met people who are mean to themselves. Has someone ever told you “stop being too hard on yourself?” Are you often harsh or kind to yourself? Are you a generous giver to yourself or are you mean to yourself? Let’s examine self-kindness and see how you can maintain it in your life.
Self-kindness, Generosity, and Self-compassion
Kindness is the quality of being warm, friendly, considerate or generous. Kindness is being compassionate and willing to forgive. It involves being helpful and ready to use your time, energy or resources for someone’s benefit. Therefore, self-kindness is being warm, friendly, considerate and generous to yourself. Self-kindness is being self-compassionate, helpful and willing to forgive yourself. You show yourself kindness when you use your time, energy and resources for your benefit. We refer to this self-directed kindness as self-kindness and we’ll use it synonymously with self-compassion.
Self-kindness is depicted in many ways including the following ways:
- Taking good care of your physical and mental health
- Spending time, energy and resources for personal improvement
- Tolerating your weaknesses and inadequacies
- Showing care and tenderness to yourself
- Supporting yourself when you are suffering
- Acknowledging your mistakes without being overly critical
- Accepting who you are without wanting to be another person
Therefore, self-kindness is caring for yourself as you would care for a beloved friend and speaking to yourself as you would speak to a beloved friend. When your friend is going through moments of suffering, you will comfort them and care for them, not so? However, at times you might neglect yourself, to the extent of engaging in fatal or non-fatal self-injurious behaviour. For instance, you are aware frequent heavy drinking is bad for your liver and drunk never looks good, but you continue with the habit.
Unfortunately, other people have been unkind to you and some will be unkind to you. Don’t blame them, they are not truly being kind to themselves either. However, it is difficult to treat yourself kindly if you believe them. Although as we expect people to be civilized, others are under no obligation to treat you with kindness. Kindness and generosity begin with you. You have to be kind and generous to yourself first so that you can learn how to be kind and generous to other people as well.
How to Be Self-Kind and Generous to Yourself
You know how to be kind and generous to yourself. And these are some ways how. Feel free to leave a comment below with more specific suggestions about self-kindness.
Observe kind people
Do for yourself those acts of kindness which you long for from your beloved ones. What actions by your family or friends show they are concerned about your well-being? Perhaps their kind words, their loving smiles, being happy to spend time with you, giving you gifts or hugs and kisses.
Who has been the kindest to you in your life? What did they do or say to make you feel cared for, supported or understood? Even if a random stranger has shown you compassion ponder over it and then emulate them by directing the same behaviour toward yourself.
Take responsibility for yourself
Show affection to your mind and body. Take good care of your mental and physical health. When things threaten your safety, physically or mentally, show yourself some self-kindness by doing whatever you can to remove yourself from the danger. Be kind to your body, when it needs rest give it rest. Give it good food, dress it up nicely, and avoid injuring or inflicting it with preventable diseases. Be kind to your mind, when it needs rest give it rest. Don’t fill it with too much self-criticism that it paralyzes your self-development.
Be true to yourself
What’s your relationship with yourself? If you have formed a habit of lying to yourself, (maybe in regard to your abilities, appearance, mistakes et cetera) stop. Be truthful and loyal to yourself. When you set goals, pursue them to the end. When you make a promise with yourself, fulfil it. Avoid dwelling on the dark side when you have reason to criticise yourself. Let your moments of self-criticism be a time to learn so you can avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Seek peace with yourself
It’s important to discipline your negative thoughts and emotions.
Feel the negative emotions, but don’t feed them. You cannot be kind in a state of heightened negative emotions. They can make you forget how important you are to yourself. They can inhibit your judgment and you might act irrationally in an unkind way. Show yourself some self-kindness by being at peace with who you are.
Self-kindness involves being patient, having self-control and not engaging in extreme behaviours which are likely to cause you psychological or physical harm. Restrain yourself from toxic people, things and situations which threaten your mental or physical well-being. Don’t be in a hurry with your personal growth. Learn to delay gratification instead of pursuing instant pleasures which can elicit grave consequences.
Give generously to yourself
Why be a miser when life is too short? Kindness and generosity to self involve giving yourself your time, energy and resources. Dress nicely, eat well, invest in a cosy bed, keep your house clean, and go on vacation. Be as generous to yourself as much as your pocket allows you to. Show yourself some kindness by not going beyond your means and always keep some money on the side for emergencies.
Try These Techniques to Boost Your Self-kindness
Kindness is a state of mind depicted through actions and related to other good states of mind like happiness, peace, and contentment. Remember how powerful your mind is. Train your mind by performing the following actions to boost your self-kindness.
When you self-soothe by being you’ll trigger the release of oxytocin which is a hormone associated with feelings of love and warmth. Therefore, you will feel more connected to yourself and be more generous and compassionate to yourself.
Know yourself deeply and truthfully. You can lie to many other, but never lie to yourself since your subconscious knows the whole truth and will never let you rest unless you are truthful about who you are. What is your personality type? How are you feeling now? Are you in control of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviour? What do you enjoy doing? Such self-examination invokes self-kindness especially in moments when you are doubting your worth. Download this self-awareness worksheet.
Strive to improve on a daily basis. Learn something new, read, advance your studies, seek the career, emotional, and spiritual growth you desire in life. There is no end to growth. Age doesn’t put a limit on self-improvement. There are aspects of your life which no one else can improve on your behalf. You have to do it yourself. You have potential and as long as you are alive your world is full of possibilities. Therefore, give yourself some self-kindness by seeking personal improvement.
Speak or think positive things about yourself. Talking helps to put things into perspective. For example, talk to yourself when you are in front of the mirror. Write a love letter to yourself. There’s nothing wrong with being critical of yourself. Being overly critical is the problem since it leads to poor self-concept. Self-kindness keeps your self-criticism at a healthy level which won’t mess with your mental health. Have good communication with yourself. Also, practice looking for your strengths instead of wallowing in negative self-criticism.
The most obvious self-kindness technique is following a self-care routine to take care of your mind and body. Take good care of your whole self. Sometimes take a break and spend time in solitude for relaxation. When you feel unwell, seek the help you need even when it’s embarrassing.
You need to up your dose of self-kindness especially when you are feeling anxious, fearful or stressed. Being kind and generous to self does not mean shunning the interest of other people. Self-kindness is not being selfish. Self-kindness makes it easy for you to show kindness and generosity to others. Practice kindness and generosity daily.
Keep living. Life is for living. Don’t give up.