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One of my biggest struggles in motherhood so far, and honestly life in general, has been learning to show myself self-compassion and I have found myself searching “how to start showing yourself kindess” too many times.
It’s been an ongoing journey, but something that truly picked up once I brought my twins into the world. I’ve constantly struggled with thoughts of not being enough, or that I’m not doing enough, and flat out beating myself up because of it.
It wasn’t until a good friend of mine pointed it out that I really noticed, either. I think our world just drives it into us to constantly compare ourselves to others and believe that we aren’t worth it.
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Why Learning How to Start Showing Yourself Kindness is a MUST for Mental Health
One day I was venting to a good friend of mine, and she cut me off and said something that has stuck with me ever since. She said “Lynneah, you need to stop and give yourself some grace”. She went on to explain how I needed to stop looking at the world around me and give myself credit for all that I truly am.
That moment is when I really started to realize I needed to value my self-worth and start showing myself kindness.
Not just for my kids, but for myself.
I have always been the type to run myself dry. To take on this, that, and everything to keep busy because a checked off to-do sheet is how I valued my worth. If it wasn’t completed come bedtime, I would literally stay up all night until it was done or I would call myself the long list of names we all know too well.
After that talk with my friend, I began to recognize that I didn’t need to live that way and ultimately, I needed to show myself some love in order to better my mental health.
Let’s dive in and learn how to begin showing yourself kindness and compassion.
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How to Start Showing Yourself Kindness through Self-Love
Self-love is all about recognizing your worth and taking action on it. If you need a little pep talk about your worth and what value you bring to the table, please, shoot me a message. I’m all for empowering others and helping them see the light within themselves.
But as for showing yourself self-compassion, you need to start with minimizing that little voice in your head telling yourself all of the negative things. That you aren’t enough. Aren’t worth anything. Are a piece of trash.
Let me help you tell those annoying thoughts to shove off.
Ideas for Showing Yourself Kindness & Love
A handful of my top ideas for learning how to begin showing yourself kindness and to begin your journey to self-love and acceptance are:
- Dropping the negative self-talk. Obviously easier said than done, but a few ways to work through this is to write yourself love notes and drop them around the house, set a reminder on your phone to periodically go off with a positive message, or my favorite, sticking a handful of post-it notes to your mirror filled with love towards yourself.
- Saying NO and doing things that make YOU happy. You aren’t put on this earth to please everyone. One of my favorite sayings is “you can do anything but not everything” and that especially holds true in how you spend your time for yourself and others.
- Show up for yourself. Do what makes your heart happy and show yourself love. Whether that be setting a simple goal like working out one day each week and sticking to it, or looking at yourself in the mirror and admitting to yourself that you are not ok and need to ask for help, showing up for yourself is important when showing yourself kindness.
- Do what the flight attendants say, and put your oxygen mask on first. You can’t possibly continue to take care of everyone else when you are literally hanging on by a strand. Show yourself compassion by stepping back and evaluating what you need to re-energize and move forward.
- Allow yourself to rest. No one is perfect and “on” 24/7. That to-do list doesn’t always have to be checked off, you don’t need to push yourself constantly, and sometimes you frankly need more rest. Rest does not equal failure. Rest is taking care of yourself and your most primal needs.
For a handful of other great ideas for self-compassion, head over to Psychology Today here.
I’ve become very fond of affirmations along my parenthood and self-love journey. They’re a great way to instill in your head the truths of what you are.
Activities for Showing Yourself Kindness
Beyond standing in the mirror or leaving yourself post-it note reminders, there are a handful of easy activities you can do to demonstrate self-compassion and love.
You don’t have to let it consume your life, just add where it feels right. Journal your thoughts when you are having a hard day, or even a good day! Buy yourself a happy yellow or fun journal that makes you smile. Keep it on your nightstand. If you really want to dive in, search Pinterest for journaling prompts.
Before you roll your eyes at me- hear me out.
I’m not talking luxurious baths, bath bombs, or face masks here. I’m talking intentionally setting aside time to take care of yourself. To take your meds, refill your prescription, breathe, collect your thoughts or do nothing.
I have come to find along my own journey that often times self-care is talked about as extreme things to do for yourself. But for me, self-care means nurturing what makes you, YOU.
A few self-care ideas for showing yourself kindness I enjoy include:
- Allow yourself to rest, both during the day and at night. Sleep does wonders for your mental health
- Talk with someone. Anyone. Therapist, best friend, mom, or the gal from the mom group or gym.
- Fuel yourself with things that make you happy. Some days that might be a delicious chopped salad, others that might be a warm pan of dark chocolate brownies.
- Encourage self-validation through journaling, habit tracking, or spending time with good friends.
If you aren’t into the whole therapy thing, I get it. It’s not for everyone! But therapy is absolutely what has helped me pave the path towards better understanding why I am the way I am, and how to work towards bettering myself for the future.
Stick to Mental Health Treatment Plan
If you do end up taking to therapy, my best advice is to stick to your treatment plan. If you don’t think it’s working for you, talk with your therapist before calling it quits. I called it quits with my meds when trying to find something that worked for me and ended up really hurting myself. Turns out the meds I was on were not supposed to be stopped cold turkey in order to avoid major mental health side effects.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking with your therapist about what is working and what isn’t, find a new one.
Please always remember that you are not alone in your journey. Everyone, especially myself, has areas in their lives they need to work on. Self-compassion and showing yourself kindness might be yours.
If you are at the point of wanting to discuss your situation with a therapist, I highly recommend BetterHelp.com. You can read more about them here.