Have you ever talked negatively about yourself to yourself? It happens most when you forget to do something or when you drop an item for the fifth time. You call yourself stupid, an idiot, or some other horrible name. I’m guilty of it myself. But over the last few months, I’ve been experimenting with being kinder to myself. To be more gentle. And I’m here today to share with you 7 positive practices you can do to be gentle with yourself.
We all have bad days. We all get stuck in a rut. That doesn’t mean we should beat ourselves up. The saying is true: We are our own worst enemy. But what if we can change that? You can by shifting your mindset and learning to be gentle with yourself.
7 positive practices to help you be gentle with yourself
#1 — Speak kindly
One of the first practices you need to do to be gentle with yourself is to speak kindly. This can be as little or as extreme as you want. But if you don’t start speaking kindly to yourself, you’re never going to feel better.
And the best thing about this practice is that it’s simple. Consider it this way: if a friend is going through a hard time, how would you speak to them? You wouldn’t call them an idiot for making a mistake. Learn to speak to yourself the way you would speak to a friend or family member going through a tough time.
Instead of calling yourself an idiot for forgetting something, say, “I have a lot of things on my mind right now. I’ll make sure to work on that thing tomorrow.” If you drop something for the fifth time, don’t release a bunch of curses. Instead, say, “It’s so funny that I keep dropping this one thing.” When you train your brain to speak kindly to yourself, you’re going to feel more confident and calm.
#2 — Make mistakes and learn from them
Think of the biggest mistake you ever made. Was it something that happened at work or in your personal life? Now think about what you learned from that mistake.
Mistakes happen all the time. We’re only human and are bound to make them several times a week. But it seems that every time we make mistakes we realize we’re not perfect and we freak out. First, let’s get over that. We’re far from perfect. Once you accept that, mistakes will feel a lot less suffocating.
Mistakes are great teachers. Not so much the little mistakes like forgetting to preheat the oven or ordering the wrong drink at Starbucks. I’m talking big mistakes. In fact, I’d encourage you to make those big mistakes because they’re going to teach you a lot.
Obviously, don’t go out of your way to make mistakes. But when you do make one, don’t steer the blame to someone else. Accept it and learn from it. Believe me, you’re going to feel better knowing you learned something than trying to pass the blame.
#3 — Stop comparing yourself to others
It’s impossible to stop the comparison game. Believe me, I still suffer through this one. But I’ve become better at it. In order to be gentle with yourself, you need to stop comparing yourself to others.
Social media makes this difficult because we’re constantly bombarded with images and videos of perfect homes, relationships, and careers. But what you see on social media isn’t real. At least, not 100%.
Have you ever spent more than 20 minutes preparing a space to take one Instagram picture? Have you drafted, edited, and rewritten captions until it was perfect? The time and energy people spend to make their social media lives perfect is proof enough that no one has it all put together. So stop comparing yourself to others because we’re all doing our best.
#4 — Believe in your talents
Confidence is one of the best ways you can learn to be gentle with yourself. When you have confidence in your skills and believe in your talents, you’re bound to achieve the things you want.
The things we want won’t magically fall into our laps. We have to do the work in order to achieve them. The rewards taste sweeter when you know you’ve done the work. Learn to trust that the skills and talents you’ve acquired over the years will get you to where you want to go.
Exuding confidence is nothing to be ashamed of. If people think you’re too confident it’s because they’re not. Who knows? You may inspire someone to believe in their talents.
#5 — Know your values and stick to them
We all have morals. Core beliefs we live by. And it’s so important that you stick to them. Too often we’ll change what we believe in to fit in or to make others like us. Or we keep them to ourselves because they may not be the most popular of values.
Whether you voice your values or not is up to you. The main thing I want you to do is to know them and stick with them. If you believe in a certain value to your very core, hang on to it. Always be willing to learn something new, but hold onto your core values. Live by your values, not by someone else’s.
#6 — Surround yourself with positive people
We all have that one friend or two who is often sad. Their life hasn’t gone the way they want and they project their misery onto whoever is near. While it’s important to have strong connections with people, it’s always a good idea to limit your time with negative people and increase your time with positive people.
You want to surround yourself with positive people. People who are going to root for you and your dreams. You want the people around you to be happy, to share kindness, and to spread love. Hanging around someone who is miserable all the time will eventually catch up to you.
Sometimes we need to learn when people aren’t good for us anymore. If someone in your life is bringing you down, you have a decision to make. Keep them around, but limit your time with them. Or accept that you can’t be around them anymore for your own wellbeing.
#7 — Find creative ways to release anger and tension
What’s the first thing you want to do when you get mad? Like really mad? I want to scream, punch something, or just pound the nearest wall. Frustration is normal. We all feel it. What we need to be better at is how we release it.
Screaming at the Starbucks employee or kicking the garbage can in the office bathroom isn’t going to make you feel better. You need to find creative ways to release anger and tension.
I personally prefer to journal. When I’m in a state of anger or stress, jotting down those thoughts makes me feel instantly better. Or I run. It’s so important to find creative ways to release pent-up emotions. You can do this by working out, painting, writing, or even gardening.
Whatever you need to do to get those emotions out. Don’t take your frustration out on people. You’ll only feel regret later on. If you’re unable to work out when your frustration spikes, write how you’re feeling on either a piece of paper or on your phone. Then when you can go for a run or work out.
When learning how to be gentle with yourself, it’s important to start slow. Pick one or two of these practices to start and add more as you get better at them. We should all focus on treating ourselves with respect. If we can be a support system for other people, we should be able to be one for ourselves. And these positive practices are a great starting point.
In what ways can you be gentle with yourself? What are some positive changes you’ve made? Comment below. I’d love to hear them.
And make sure you follow me on Instagram where I post motivational quotes and tips on how to be more gentle with yourself.