Today is a very special day. Yes, it is Sunday, it is spring and the sun is shining. That alone merits a happy dance. What I am truly excited about, however, is the fact that my lovely friend Hannah Braime is on a mission to spread self-kindness. We met in a wonderful online community and I am honored to also have her as a treasured writer in the Xmas- and Homeing-issues of Diva Mystic Magazine. She kindly invited me to join her in her quest.
This post is part of the Thriving Blog Tour, which is spreading self-kindness to the masses. To learn more and join us, click here.
Self-kindness can be quite the challenge for a Super Sensitive Soul.
While we are quick to feel another and are often overly sensitive to someone elses‘ need, we are masters at ignoring our own and turn a deaf ear to our inner wise woman calling for our attention. We are ultra fast at labelling ourselves all kinds of lovely things for perceived mistakes and mess-ups. We deserve a medal for spotting the grain of dust on our never good enough selves, wouldn’t you agree?
Cultivating the muscle of self-kindness can shift all of that and change the way we perceive ourselves and others, the world in general. It is the tool to help us set healthy, sustainable boundaries and to get our life priorities sorted according to our own desires instead of the should-prescription of others.
Self-kindness is the bridge to self-love and key to interrupting the cycle of neglect and self abuse
You don‘t do that, you say? Good, I applaud you. Maybe I’m the only one charged guilty?
But wait, did I just hear you call yourself dumb because you didn‘t immediately grasp this techy thing that you have been struggling with for the last three hours?
Didn’t you pull a face at yourself after inspecting your cheesy, winter white thighs in the mirror, followed by a resigned sigh while you shove that sweet bikini to the back of the drawer grumbling at yourself for not resisting that cake you had 3 months ago?
Oh, and did the memory of your last, unpleasant conversation ending in an ugly fight with your spouse now making you feel inferior just visit you? Then keep reading, Dear One.
First we need to talk about self-love for a bit.
There is this misconception about self-love, often confused with self-care. I can totally care for myself without having any self-love. Any even halfway groomed and put together female can attest to that. Right, ladies?
Getting eight hours of sleep and having my nails done is not a guarantee for self-love!
It‘s just a necessity, something I now give my body after a severe burnout and breakdown to ensure she functions well and I don‘t freak out every time I look at my hands. Hammering on my keyboard most days puts my hands center stage. And believe me, I can totally obsess over nails that have outgrown their lovely shape to the point that I need to grab my file and vigorously file away, before I am able to focus on the task at hand. So these things are crucial for my achieving what I have set out to accomplish during the day. Honestly, I would sleep fewer hours and work more if my body would allow that because I love what I do and there are so many other fascinating things I would like to explore, as well. However, she won‘t, so off to bed I go.
No self-love here, just basic survival instinct playing out.
On the other hand, I can‘t have self-love without automatically caring for myself.
So, for example, how can we say we love ourselves when we walk around like ragdolls, not caring for the way we look and what state our space is in?
Yes, I know, some of you lovelies are not going to like this statement, arguing that it‘s not about the outer, superficial values. But I will take the risk of creating some waves because it needs to be said. It‘s important that we get really honest and stop manipulating ourselves with faul ideologies indoctrinated in us women over millenia by powerhungry men who sadly didn‘t and don‘t understand the power of true beauty and how crucial it is for the wellbeing of our planet and ourselves, themselves included.
And we need to understand what self-love really is.
I‘ve come to understand that self-love is not something to acquire or achieve it‘s a state of being and is found and activated within. Our outer world, including our appearance and environment is a polaroid of our inner world. Nobody can teach us self love. We can, however, learn how to access and live in this state of being. And self-kindness is the key to that door.
Yet many of us, myself included, play out at least a version of the above scenario. Neglect is a sneaky little thing and has a way of infiltrating our life and energy without us realizing that we have fallen prey to this unkind habit, letting something or someone else score first place on our priority list yet once again. It is a cycle, a never ending story if we don‘t learn to cultivate our self kindness muscle.
Which brings up the famous HOW-question.
Well, Dear One, it is quite simple, which is great news, don‘t you agree? We love simple! Here is a simple formula to illustrate your plan of action:
SELF-KINDNESS = COMPASSION + RESPECT = MORE ENERGY + HAPPINESS
I told you it was simple:)
- Integrating compassion and respect – something you most likely already abundantly have for others – for yourself into your habits-kit automatically leads to self-kindness, better decisions, building sustainable, healthier habits. These then reward you with more energy boosting your happiness thermostat.
So half of the work is already done. As Super Sensitive Souls, we are naturally wired to execute compassion and respect for others leading us to express random acts of kindness everywhere we go. We don‘t even give this much thought. It‘s just the way we roll. Can you relate?
If not, then I invite you to start right here. It is crucial that we really become aware of this wonderful trait that is deeply ingrained in our habits matrix.
- Start by noticing how you interact with others, what you do for them, how you encourage them, how you connect to them by giving them your empathy and all the little random acts of kindness you perform. Keep a kindness-diary and become a detective in your own life.
- Invite others to share how they perceive you and what they value about you. Take it all in. Become aware and acknowledge that this is the way you function by default. Don‘t downplay it, just notice and acknowledge.
- At the same time, yes you are allowed to multitask: ), take note of how you interact with yourself. Are you finding compassion and respect are regulars in your interactions with yourself? No? Then think of three situations where you were harsh with yourself. Got it?
- Now imagine yourself in the body of your friend. Would you call her dumb for not understanding the technology issue? Would you tell her to stay home and hide because her thighs aren‘t photoshopped? Would you doubt her self worth for having an argument? Of course not! You would shower her with compassion, gently reminding her that she is lovely just the way she is, that you believe in her, and you would tell her to stop the negative self talk right there.
Two main points that determine our level and quality of self-kindness are attitude and communication.
Both are a choice, defined and strengthened by our daily decisions. The good news is; we get to choose. Nobody else can do that for us. But others will take over if we don‘t choose; which is also a choice. It is our job to learn to choose wisely, to consciously choose a kinder attitude and communication towards and about ourselves.
I don‘t restrict communication just to words (spoken out loud or used in our inner dialogue – yes, those little poison arrows we keep throwing at ourself), although they are extremely powerful and can create huge suffering in our lives.
Communication includes our whole expression, our physical appearance, the way we dress, our body language and our physical environment which, like we already discussed, is an honest snapshot of our current life.
- Making a conscious choice to value myself more by being mindful of what I put on and in my body is compassion and respect in action.
- Decluttering and cleaning my space, being a watchful guardian of what has a home in my home and workspace has nothing to do with being superficial but everything to do with living in a state of self-love, fueled by practical, doable acts of kindness towards myself.
- Giving myself a hug and a sincere smile for showing up every day, doing the best I am capable of, even if it‘s not the best according to someone elses’ standard or even my own will keep the door to self-love open.
- Being able to laugh at myself for being so weirdly human every now and again and staying in wonderland of possibility instead of doom keeps the self-kindness muscle pumping, stretching and strong.
Like there are personal trainers to help us sculpt and train our physical muscles we have personal trainers ready and eager to aid us in cultivating the muscle of self-kindness.
We just need to invite them into our lives. Nothing makes them happier than seeing us going from coping to thriving.
Here are some of my favorites:
- The deer/doe: A powerful totem we can call upon to help us activate and integrate self-kindness.
- Kuan Lin: Goddess of compassion. This goddess is well known for her huge heart overflowing with compassion. She can help with connecting to our heart and strengthening this connection, the doorway to self love.
- Artemis: Goddess of nature and independence. She would not let anyone interfere and mess with her life and the things she valued and stood for. She can help set clear boundaries and strengthen self -respect.
Now it‘s your turn, Dear One. I‘d love to know about your relationship with self-kindness. What does practical self-kindness look like for you? How are you going to strengthen that muscle just a bit more?
And if you are serious about cultivating that muscle you might like to consider Hannahs’ wonderful program, From Coping to Thriving, a six-week journey that will teach you how to turn your coping strategies into self-caring behaviours, leaving behind struggle and learning to thrive“From coping to thriving”. Deets are here.