Being Kind to Ourselves

Self-care Comes First

Putting “ME” on the Top of the Care List

Many of us are willing to support and help others, and much of our time and services are devoted to others, putting ourselves at the bottom of the “care list”. We always put other people first. We keep on providing love and kindness to others even when our energy is drained. If we are constantly “withdrawing” energy from our tank without replenishing it, we won’t be able to keep up and our body will suffer. Warning signs that our body needs rest and replenishing include chest pain, fatigue, even cardiac disease.

Self-Compassion

Some people like to create “self-care time” when they take a moment to act kind or say kind things towards themselves. Some people use the concept of “self-compassion” to cultivate positive energy in themselves. Dr. Kristen Neff who has published numerous studies on self-compassion has a way of explaining it, “self-compassion involves acting the same way towards ourselves when we are having a difficult time, failing, or notice something we don’t like about ourselves than we would if we accomplished something. In these tough moments, instead of judging and criticizing ourselves, we can select remedies that offer comfort and care for ourselves. (Neff, n.d.). Self-compassion is composed of three integrated components: (1) being kind to oneself (self-kindness) instead of being critical; (2) realizing that one is not alone (common humanity) instead of feeling isolated; and (3) being aware of one’s feelings (mindfulness) without ruminating or disengaging. (Neff, 2003).”

The Heart Represents Love, Compassion, and Care

The renowned author, Louise Hay, mentioned that the heart represents love, while our blood represents joy. Our hearts lovingly pump joy throughout our bodies. When we deny ourselves, love, the heart is deprived and becomes cold. As a result, the blood gets sluggish, and our body crawls its way to anemia, angina, and heart attacks. However, the heart does not “attack” us. We often forget to notice the little joys that surround us. We spend years squeezing all the joy out of the heart, and it literally falls over in pain. For people who do not take time to appreciate things in life, there is a higher risk that they will suffer from heart problems.

How to Practice Self-Compassion?

There are things that we can do to modify or “re-program” our thoughts, so they are more compassionate and caring towards our body. This re-programming may lead our hearts towards a better healing process. Before we start, we need to give ourselves a break. Dr. Neff (2015) provides some tips for practicing self-compassion:

  • “I bring joy back to the center of my heart. I express love to all”
  • “Joy. Joy. Joy. I lovingly allow joy to flow through my mind and body and experience.”

Self-care Helps

Providing kindness, love, compassion, and care is essential to nurture ourselves. Negative thoughts, self-blaming, and self-judgment contribute nothing but damage to our body and heart. If we change our thoughts to re-introduce joy, love, compassion, and kindness- our hearts might be lighter and more joyful.

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