As far as hanging out with other people goes, you're stuck with yourself all the time. Better to be a friend to yourself than an enemy. And a key component of friendship is kindness. Enter these hacks for being nicer to yourself. Years of negative self talk and putting yourself last have probably made acts of personal kindness seem foreign and weird. Once you start really listening to how you talk to yourself, you'll probably be pretty surprised how... well, mean you can be to number one (that's you).
Being kind to yourself isn't just about being happy. It's an essential part of self care, which also keeps you healthy. Plus, the more kindness you bestow upon yourself, the more energy you have to devote to others. Being kind to yourself also helps you get to know yourself better, according to Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. in an article for Psych Central. In my role as a domestic violence victim advocate, one of the hardest lessons women had to learn was that it was OK to be nice to themselves and practice self-care.
You might be surprised to find that being kind to yourself is a little bit difficult. You might face resistance that tells you to spend that time working or doing something else. Stick with it. Being kind to yourself is a series of habits that take work to form, but the rewards include more happiness, higher self-esteem, and even better relationships with other people.
1. Censor The Censor
Stop being a bully. That sounds harsh, but if you take some time to pay attention to the critical voice in your head, you'll see that you're probably not very nice to yourself. The first step toward stopping that behavior is to realize that you're doing it. After that, work on stopping those thoughts and replacing them with nice ones. You'll be surprised how much your life changes.
2. Journal Your Good Qualities
I bet you say a lot of nice things to other people. What about the nice things other people say about you? Whenever you get a compliment, write it down. Whenever you feel like you've done a great job, document it. Whenever you feel beautiful, take a selfie. Spend more time concentrating on your achievements than your flaws. Think of it as curating your awesomeness.
3. Make Your Life Easier
Little nice things that make your life easier can have a big, positive impact on your day. Get everything you need ready for bed so you don't have to rush. Fold your clothes and put them away so they're easier to find. Get organized. Develop routines. Don't do them because you feel like it's real "adulting." Do it because you deserve to remove some of the frustration from your day.
4. Make Peace With Food
You deserve to feel nourished, healthy, and satisfied. That means eating in the healthiest way for your body, and in a way that makes you feel your personal best. This might mean allowing yourself your favorite greasy spoon dinner or your partner's killer chocolate chip cookies because you want to, or it might mean eating kale 90 times a day, or, hey, maybe a combination of both. Whatever works for you.
5. Say No
Healthy, happy people have backbones. They say no to things they don't want to do in order to make time for the things they enjoy. This may seem rude or uncaring, but it's actually one of the nicest things you can do for yourself. You deserve to spend time doing things that make you happy.
6. Trim Your Circle
You don't have to be friends with people you don't like, even if it means causing a rift in your circle. You also don't have to follow annoying people you don't are about on social media. Give yourself a gift and cut them loose. There's nothing nicer than a life free of drama.
7. Get Body Positive
Your thighs never did anything to you except serve as awesome thighs. Same for all your other parts. As you start to explore what makes you unhappy in your life, you'll probably realize that you spend a lot of time hating on and trying to improve your body. Do yourself a kindness and learn to love and embrace your gorgeous body, flaws and all.
Don't think of these hacks as work. Think of them as gifts of kindness. As offerings to your goddess self.