Are you being kind to yourself?

Not with Rewards

Are you kind to yourself? Stop saying negative things to yourself and start affirming the positive. You ARE awesome. Start saying it!Oh sure, you reward yourself with a piece of cake or a new piece of jewelry once in a while. But those are rewards, and while it is nice and kind to do something “extra” for yourself, the real question is: are you kind to yourself every day?

Kind Self-Talk

“I’m so stupid.” Do you say that to yourself? Know this: it’s not true. Perhaps you poured OJ into your coffee instead of milk. That doesn’t make you stupid, it just means you weren’t paying attention at the moment. In most cases, when you tell yourself you’re stupid, you are reacting to a situation in which you’re not performing at your best. You may have done something stupid (and I’d prefer to say you did something not so smart), but that doesn’t make you stupid. So stop saying it. I hear people, particularly women, say this aloud about themselves all the time. Take notice if you’re doing it, and stop.

There are other phrases of unkind words we say to ourselves: I’m fat, I’m not good enough, I’m ugly, I’m a bad mother/wife/partner/sister/friend. Stop it. You have the power to change your reaction to whatever situation is causing you to say those things. And you can start making that change by changing how you talk to yourself.

Instead of saying “I’m fat” try:
– I am in control of my health.
– I am choosing to be healthy.
– I am awesome.

Instead of saying “I’m not good enough” try:
– I am a winner.
– I am successful.
– I love myself for who I am.

Instead of saying “I’m ugly” try:
– I am my own unique self.
– I am comfortable with who I am.
– I am special.
– I am beautiful.

Instead of “I’m a bad (insert relationship here)” try:
– I am patient and kind.
– I am a source of love and inspiration.
– I am loving and passionate.
– I am love, loved, and loving.

These alternatives are all positive affirmations, short positive statements that are true (or you want to be true). Repeating them aloud or writing them down every day instills the affirmation into your subconscious and it will change the way you think about yourself. For those who doubt this and think it’s some New Age hype, let me just remind you that all those negative things you’ve been saying have gotten you where? This is basic human psychology. So make a concentrated effort to write down three positive affirmations and say them aloud every morning for a week. See if you feel a difference. I know you will.

If you’d like more information on positive affirmations, including over 300 more affirmations covering everything from finance to creativity, then check out my book, Positive Affirmations.

Kindness Matters

I think that people are inherently kind. I also think that even though people are essentially kind they find it easy to squelch that impulse. And so sometimes we have to make ourselves be kind. Not that we want to be mean or hurtful, but we have to make an effort to be kind, or perhaps I should say, kinder.

Kindness matters. Even the smallest act of kindness has the potential to make a big impact on a person. So make an effort this week (and always) to incorporate one or more of these five small acts of kindness into your daily routine:

  1. Smile. Smile when you’re talking on the phone. Smile at strangers. Smile at your family and co-workers. Smiling releases endorphins (natural painkiller) and serotonin (natural antidepressant) in your brain. When someone sees you smile, their brain releases serotonin too. If they smile back at you – double whammy for you, because you get yet more serotonin! That feels really good.
  2. Tell those you love that you love them. Every day. Has it been a while? Feeling a bit awkward about it? Start small. “I love the way you are always looking out for your brother” or “I love that you take the time to ___.” If saying the word love is hard, use appreciate: “I appreciate you.” Work up to saying “I love you.” Once you get there, say it every day.
  3. Pay compliments. Make them sincere. If you don’t have something nice to say, try harder to think of something. Still stuck? Try completing this sentence: “I really appreciate the effort you are making to ___.”
  4. Stop complaining. Stop complaining about others; stop complaining to others. If you find yourself caught up in a hate-fest, then take the initiative to say, “Stop. I’m trying to be more kind. Can we change the subject or find something that we are grateful for about this person/situation?”
  5. Say “please” and “thank you.” You know you were taught this as a child, but are you still doing it? Get back in the habit if that’s a habit that you’ve let slip.

These simple things can make you and those around you happier. Start today. Start right now, actively practicing kindness.


Awareness of Influence

Who Are You Spending Your Time With?

“You are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with” says Jim Rohn, renowned businessman and motivational speaker. Are you aware of who you are spending most of your time with?

Take a moment to write down the five people with whom you spend the most time interacting on a regular basis. Perhaps it’s co-workers, your spouse/partner, or friends. Now rate how much of a positive influence that person is on your life. Do they help and support the goals you are trying to achieve? Or are they usually sabotaging (even if innocently) your efforts for self-improvement? You can assign each person a numerical rating on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being most positive influence or makes you feel most uplifted), and take the average.* Are you happy with the result?

Who’s Opinion Influences You?

I would go so far as to say it’s not just the amount of time, but even more so the person’s influence on you. How much do you rely on this person’s opinion and character in making your decisions? You may only spend 20-30 minutes a week conversing with your mother (and in contrast spend much more time each week with co-workers). If your mother is always putting you down or being unsupportive of your goals or questioning your relationships, you may place more value on her opinion than you do a co-worker with whom you share a cubical, and spend 40 hours with every week. Your mother is, after all, your mother. So now go back to your list and revise to include those with whom you may not spend an exorbitant amount of time with, but whom have a strong impact on your decision making process – positive or negative. Add no more than two or three, and it’s possible you aren’t adding any as they may have already been included in your original list. Rate the new people added, but don’t average them in.

Now compare their rating to your average; is the rating higher or lower than your average? If lower, than you will want to lessen the amount of time (further) or lessen the amount of influence that person holds over you. If it is higher, than you will definitely want to spend more time with this person.

You Influence Others As Well

It is important to be aware of what influence your interactions have on others as well. Are you supportive and inspiring with others? Are you contributing to the negativity? Strive to be helpful and positive. Your gestures don’t have to be grand, as many small actions can add up. Improving and growing yourself will in turn help others to improve and grow.

Take time this week to really think about who you spend most of your time with. Are these the people that are going to push you UP or drag you DOWN?

* add the five ratings and divide by 5 to get the average.

3 Steps to Learning to Love Yourself

Do you like the person you see in the mirror?
Do you like the person you see in the mirror?

When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see? Not just the physical characteristics, but who you are.

How often do you truly look in the mirror? Sure, everyday you glance as you’re brushing your teeth, or combing your hair, or making sure your outfit is not lacking. But your focus is likely on that which your action is addressing: on your hair as you comb it or on your teeth as you brush them. Do you ever look the person in the mirror straight in the eye – and smile?

I didn’t until recently. And it wasn’t an easy habit to establish. At first it was rather quick – a fleeting smile performed on the sly. Brush teeth, apply makeup, comb hair, take in overall look, flash a smile, move on. What was I so afraid of? That I wouldn’t smile back? It’s a mirror; I’m guaranteed to return the smile. And yet, I was – I don’t know – embarrassed?  No one else was around, so was I embarrassed by the person looking back at me? Maybe I just needed to learn to not be so critical of me and to learn to love the person in the mirror.

Learn to Love Yourself

  1. Breathe. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, open your eyes.
  2. Smile. A genuine “Hey, nice to see you!” smile. React as if you’re seeing a best friend for the first time in years.
  3. Say something nice. “Hey beautiful!” or “Your smile is infectious” or “It’s a good day when I see your smiling face.” Anything along those lines.

This may take practice. It did for me. The goal is not to become an egomaniac who can’t stop looking in the mirror, but you are looking to reach a point where you acknowledge the person in the mirror as a worthy and wonderful person… you.