How to Be Kinder to Yourself

As I've mentioned in a previous post, our body hears everything our mind says. I often hear clients talk about themselves in a negative way -- whether it be about their bodies, their intelligence, or their characteristics, to name a few. We get enough criticism from the world around us. Why should we be hard on ourselves too?

As a therapist, I often talk about negative versus positive self-talk in my sessions. Reframing from a negative self-statement to a positive one is an easy, yet important skill to implement - especially when we struggle with low self-esteem, self-image or self-confidence. I've shared with you some of my favorite ways to practice self-care in a previous post. Now I want to share with you some gentler ways that we can speak to ourselves. You may not believe positive things about yourself - but let me try and help you to.

Be mindful of your self-critical thoughts. Try not to label your thoughts as "right"/ "wrong," or "good"/"bad." Acknowledge them without judgement. Then, acknowledge that you are not alone in experiencing those thoughts. Next, try and respond to that thought with a more compassionate and realistic statement.

For example, if the negative thought is:

"I look so disgusting. How can I go out like this? They are going to think I am so ugly,"

a more compassionate response could be, "I'm feeling badly about myself today. I am feeling stressed, and my body is an easy target. But I am not seeing myself accurately. I deserve to go out and have fun, no matter what I look like. No one else is looking at me; my friends love me unconditionally."

Here are some other examples of how to reframe from negative to realistic/positive self-talk:

1. "I can't do any better. I give up." ----> "I'm doing all I can and that is okay."

2. "I'm a failure." ----> "I can keep trying and redefine success."

3. "I'm not as good looking as he/she is." ----> "Comparing wastes my time. I am beautiful."

4. "Look at my body. I'm disgusting." ----> "By who's standards? I look and FEEL good!"

5. "I'm not smart enough." ----> "No one knows everything. I'll learn what I need to know."

6. "I'm not a good person." ----> "I'm not anything all of the time. What I focus on, I can be."

7. "I am unlovable." ----> "There are people in my life who love me exactly as I am."

KIND and POSITIVE affirmations to practice daily:

  • I believe in me.

  • I acknowledge my own self-worth.

  • I am not my mistakes.

  • I accept myself unconditionally.

  • I am proud of myself and all that I have accomplished.

  • I am enough.

  • I deserve love, compassion and empathy.

  • I honor my commitments to myself.

  • I choose to be happy and completely love myself today.

  • I matter. I am allowed to say "no" to others and "yes" to myself.

  • I choose to not take it personally.

  • I believe in the person I dream of becoming.

  • I am a beautiful person.

  • I am now creating my life exactly as I want it to be.

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