We probably all consider ourselves to be kind people. People who go out of their way to help, prioritise the needs of others, or always mind their p’s and q’s. But something that has become quite clear in the last couple of decades, since the birth of social media and fashion magazines, is that perhaps we are not as kind as we originally thought. Because we can often be quite unkind to a rather important person…
We are always so quick to criticise ourselves and compare the way we look to everyone else. We analyse every detail of our bodies and wish for overnight transformations, blaming ourselves when we don’t match up to society’s outlandish expectations of beauty. For too long, we have lived in a world that has pressured us to look a certain way, and this has only begun to change due to women’s movements and body positivity campaigns. But despite the amazing work that these movements have done, the fact still remains:
A staggering 85% of people struggle with low self-esteem.
And why is that?
Surprisingly, there is actually a scientific reason behind it. It’s all about survival. As human beings, we are biologically compelled to live in tight knit communities. Afterall, way back when we were neanderthals and hunting food with handmade tools, you would be far more likely to survive when surrounded by others than if you were going it alone. Thus (according to thriveglobal.com), we have an innate need to be accepted by the people around us and we obsess over criticism because we reflexively fear that it threatens our position in the community and, therefore, our survival.
Of course, living in the age of social media and airbrushing makes this a whole lot worse. Being constantly surrounded by altered imagery of the “perfect” person doesn’t help us unlearn these behaviours, rather it encourages us to be more self-critical. Meaner. More unkind.
Why should I be kinder to myself?
Life is challenging enough as it is, especially after the year we’ve just had, to spend so much mental energy obsessing over our “flaws”. But the truth is, we are all flawed. Every single one of us. There is no such thing as a perfect person and, you know what, that’s okay. Because our flaws make us who we are, they make us human, and they should be celebrated.
There are so many reasons to be kinder to yourself, but perhaps the most poignant is that being so self-critical serves absolutely no purpose. The only thing achieved by it is that we end up hurting ourselves. It negatively affects our mental health, self-worth and positivity. Simply, it’s just not worth it.
Being kinder to yourself makes you happier, more focused and even kinder to others. It helps you get a more restful night’s sleep (made even better by a well-timed cup of TEA+ Sleep), do better at work, have more fun and live with less regrets. There are even studies that suggest a link between being kind to yourself and living longer.
So, how can I be kinder to myself?
Thankfully, there are so many amazing things that you can do to treat yourself with more kindness, patience and compassion. It may take some practise, but with consistency and a bit of hard work, you will see the change in no time.
Check back here on Monday for some great ideas to get you started!
If you take anything from this, let it be that you deserve to love who you are. You are worthy of kindness, compassion and confidence. As Lousie L. Hay so perfectly states, “You’ve been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”