Today is a little different from the usual Inspiration Broadcast. Today I’m supporting Karen Salmansohn‘s mission to “stop the trend of bullying by making kindness trendy”. (She’s an awesome author who ‘merges empowering psychology/philosophy tips with edgy humor and stylish graphics’. Seriously - check her out if you haven’t heard of her!)
I believe one of the most silent yet destructive forms of bullying is the one we do to ourselves. So if self kindness is a bit of an struggle for you, or if you think it’s selfish to take care of numero uno, read on…
I used to think that being hard on myself was the only way to get anything done. I believed that while I was a kind and compassionate person to all around me, there was a different set of rules that applied to me.
I internalised the message (as so many of us do) that any act of self kindness was the ultimate hedonism. I had to take care of others, before I took care of myself – otherwise I was totally selfish.
This limited belief led to a girl who was driven by the need for others’ approval, a girl who let others dictate boundaries, a girl who was constantly dieting and “whipping herself into shape” in order to be thin, beautiful and accepted.
My life was clouded by self-doubt, panic attacks, poor relationships and an eating disorder. The irony of it all was that I couldn’t actually be kind to anyone else because I couldn’t be kind to myself.
I couldn’t show kindness to my friends because I was desperate and needy. I pushed them away because I didn’t believe I was worthy of love.
I couldn’t show kindness to my partner because he was busy taking care of me while I suffered through depression and anxiety.
I couldn’t show kindness to strangers because I was too busy comparing myself with them and judging them.
But all that changed when I realised that self kindness wasn’t selfish. Self kindness is vital to ALL kindness. I began to speak to myself as I would a friend. If I was sick, sad or suffering - I would imagine that I was speaking to a small hurt child or a dear loved one.
Slowly but surely, my inner bully began to morph into my inner bestie.
The more I practised self kindness the more I cultivated a sense of worthiness, resilience and grounded calm. I was able to love more fully, connect more deeply and bounce back from set-backs more quickly.
One of my favourite quotes is by Audre Lorde –
‘I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival’
Releasing the idea that self kindness was akin to selfishness allowed me to gently explore the idea of nurturing myself.
Instead of undertaking punishing workouts and pushing through injuries, I was able to rest when I needed it.
Instead of being stuck on the diet-binge-self-loathing roller-coaster (the most un-fun roller-coaster ever!), I was able to heal my emotional eating issues.
Instead of unhealthy relationships defined by poor boundaries and power plays – I was able to give and accept love in a balanced way.
I’ve learned self kindness in many ways. Through mindfulness, meditation, yoga, Pilates, counselling hypnotherapy, intuitive eating, practising gratitude and absorbing positive wisdom from books and blogs (like Karen’s).
It’s been a long and rewarding journey. But like many great feats in life – self-kindness IS a practice. It’s certainly not something I’ve mastered but I give it a red hot go each day.
How about you? Do you struggle with self kindness? Has your inner bully got the best of you? Or can you nurture yourself easily?
“Karen Salmansohn is on a mission to stop the trend of bullying and make kindness trendy. You can find out more about her mission on Karen’s Happy Kid’s page on her site www.notsalmon.com Plus, you can join Karen’s Kindness mission by becoming a Kindness Rockstar Ambassador – just click here.”