Self-Love: 9 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself Today

by Henrik Edberg


Image by Helga Weber (license).

.“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
Henry James

Being kind to yourself in everyday life is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Life will become lighter and your relationships will most likely improve. You will feel happier overall. And your self-esteem and your sense of deserving good things in life will go up.

But it also one thing that is often neglected or something some may feel guilty about doing.

To make positive change with that simply start a new habit today. One of kindness towards yourself. You can find 9 such habits of self-kindness below.

Don’t try everything today. Choose one thing. And just go with it for today. If it felt good and helped you out then just continue doing it tomorrow.

1. Invest in yourself. Spend 30-60 minutes in the morning or evening with reading, listening to or watching material that uplifts you, that helps you to understand yourself and the world or that helps you to live a better life. Then, if possible, take one small action on what you have learned.

2. Find the truth and exception when an inner critic or outer critic attacks. Your own inner critic may not always say nice things about you to you. People around you may attack you or try to bring you down to serve one of their own needs. If you or someone else does this, ask yourself: what is the exception to this though?

This is very effective to change your train of thoughts, to find the truth and to not get down on yourself.

For example, if you or someone says that you are not doing a good job in school then you can ask the question and find answers that tell you that isn’t really true. If you question the attack and look for the exception you may for instance see that you are actually doing a good job in most of your courses, but may be a bit unfocused and lazy in math and physics.

That is a more nuanced truth that helps you rather than just brings you down.

3. Set a low bar for happiness. Wake up in the morning. Relax for a minute. Tell yourself: “Today I will set a low bar for happiness”.

I use this one often and it is such a simple thing that makes a big difference to my day. As I tell myself this and try to keep it in mind during the day I appreciate things more. The food, my work, the weather, the people and the small events of the day becomes not everyday stuff but something I feel happy to have.

The small things or what may be something one takes for granted becomes something I now often pause for a moment or two to take in and appreciate.

This approach to the day makes life lighter, more joyful and it becomes easier to keep the motivation up.

4. Unstress tonight. Take a long bath and read something to escape. Or work out. Or talk to someone about something that is on your mind and let it all out. Set aside 30 minutes or more and be kind to your body and mind by letting the tensions and stress out.

5. Mediocre day? Take one small step forward towards something positive. If your day feels mediocre or just sort of depressing then take one small step towards something positive to breathe new hope and optimism into your day and week.

Book or research a trip you want to take. Setup a dinner or a cup of coffee with a good friend. Look into how you can grow in your career to get new and exciting stuff to do. Try a new hobby.

6. If you stumble, be your own best friend. Don’t beat yourself up, that will erode your self-esteem. Be a kind and supportive friend to yourself instead.

Ask yourself: How would my friend/parent support me and help me in this situation?

And then do things and talk to yourself like he or she would.

And remember to ask yourself what you can learn from your stumble and if there is an opportunity in this situation. Then take that new knowledge you gain and move forward once again.

7. Take a laugh-break. Take 20-30 minutes in the middle of your day or if that is not possible then use your morning or evening. Use your cell phone, portable media player, computer or TV and watch an episode of a sitcom, read a funny book or comic or listen to a podcast you know makes you laugh.

I have been using this one for over a decade, even before I got seriously interested in personal development. I find it to be one of the most effective things I can do to recharge my energy and optimism and to release inner tensions.

8. Remember, the future is still in your hands. And it is never too late to change. Don’t get stuck in thought loops that just go round and round about what you could have done or what went wrong.

Think about what you really want in the rest of your life instead. Better health? A great relationship? New challenges in your career?

What are a few small steps you can take towards that goal? Take one of those steps today. Then another tomorrow.

9. Simply remind yourself of why is smart to be kind to yourself. By knowing the reasons why it is smart to be kinder to yourself it, in my experience, becomes easier and easier to be kind to yourself and to take the time for it every day.

By reminding yourself of benefits such as better real life results, more perseverance, higher self-esteem, more inner happiness and stillness, more positive relationships with yourself and other people it becomes easier to stay kind to yourself through life’s natural ups and downs.




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{ 18 comments }

wendy August 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Thank you for this great reminder. Even though I’m in the change work business, it’s so easy for me to forget to give myself time.
When I do take time for self-hypnosis – even just for 3 minutes I feel refreshed.
Your blog came at a perfect time!

Dana Lightman August 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm

I love the idea of setting a low bar for happiness. Not only is it a great strategy, it’s a terrific visual. I often say to myself that today I am going to focus on appreciating the “little things” in life, and now I have the visual to go with it. Thanks!

Ben August 18, 2012 at 4:38 am

Thankyou for the reminder Henrik,

It is quite hard at times to do this after establishing a pattern of beating yourself up, and it’s funny how our mind tells us that even though beating yourself up hasn’t worked for years it might suddenly work now.

Giving yourself approval instead is much more effective, but it can be a challenge getting there.

-Ben

JJ Wong August 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I love reading, and reading is like getting away from the real world for a moment, and be into the “words world”. It’s a peace of mind and calm of soul.

Thanks Henrik for the post. :D

Furries @ Furries-Happyclub.com August 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm

… and treat yourself to chocolate!
Lots of it!
But not too much…

Geraldine August 20, 2012 at 12:52 am

Some great reminders here. Why are we kinder to others, before ourselves?

http://www.takeahappybreak.com

Elise August 20, 2012 at 10:08 am

I love this and I REALLY love the laugh break!

I think it’s so important to laugh and well basically exert energy! I do this goofy dancing technique when I’m feeling a bit glum and literally within minutes my energy is high, I’m laughing and I feel great!

Thank you for this wonderful reminder!

Elise
xx

ss August 20, 2012 at 12:11 pm

thankyou Henrik for yet another uplifting and brilliat post !!

Louise Altman @The Intentional Workplace August 20, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Hendrik

This post is a good reminder about the importance of self care. Last year I wrote a post called Self Compassion is not Self Indulgence because I believe that many of us have absorbed cultural beliefs that ultimately don’t serve us personally or collectively. There’s a voice in our heads that says – get up, why aren’t you working? There’s a time for both – problem is too many of us don’t ever make the time for rest, relaxation and just being!

Also appreciate the great James quote. Thanks

Kumar Gauraw August 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm

This is an awesome reminder, Henrik.
Thank you. A great way to make everyday a masterpiece!

Jake @ The Mind Manual August 20, 2012 at 9:03 pm

These are some real good advice that anyone should follow. Being able to laugh at any situation that you may find yourself in is crucial to loving yourself. I find many people who struggle with that and they take things much more seriously which in turn makes them less happy. Whenever I smile or laugh, I immediately feel much better. There are times when I would rather just cry instead but I know that crying would only make me feel worse so I force myself to smile and get through situations by staying positive. Really good information. Thanks.

Erwin August 22, 2012 at 7:34 am

I was really down today and decided to google around to find some interesting reads, then viola, I find your article.

Thanks for tapping my back, you provided me a very meaningful reminder.

Elisabetta Reist August 22, 2012 at 12:02 pm

I think this is an important topic. Most people are not aware that they are not kind to themselves and it is the basis for better living.

David Nikolic August 23, 2012 at 7:11 am

I like the ideas presented here for Motivation, especially the two about ‘Simply remind yourself of why is smart to be kind to yourself’ . Personally, this is the biggie of moving forward toward my big dream.

Mikie August 25, 2012 at 1:01 am

I think this a good way to get myself started.

Rob Leonardo August 25, 2012 at 2:09 am

Thanks for the tips that are -now at this moment! One of the things that I have neglected is loving myself- being exposed to a ‘forget yourself’ kind of mantra. Little did I know that I was not good at that- I simply forgot to take care of myself.

I recently reflected and wrote about self-love. Here’s my take- Love yourself first because only then can you be of service to your loved ones. I guess this has to be differentiated from selfishness. I always have to remind myself.

Kristen Poborsky August 30, 2012 at 3:07 am

Great article. I just spent 4 days away with my family unplugged so #1 was my favorite. It is all too easy to tune into all of the garbage that is around us on TV or the internet.

Investing in myself by reading or listening to uplifting and educational information is definitely one thing I enjoy.

Spiros Philippas September 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I love your blog and I have found it very insightful.

I would also add to the list the importance of giving credit to yourself for whatever you do well; pausing to make a mental note of what a good job you have made of something eg. a meal, serving a client well, help a lady across the street or simply being kind to yourself. I have found that this helps me maintain a positive self image and be confident.

Once again thanks for the great information presented here.

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