I am sure you have seen various versions of the quote that is variously attributed to Plato, Ian MacLaren and John Watson “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I have been reminded many times recently of how true this is. Life is complex. What might be trivial for one person is the world for another. If you can treat every one you meet with respect and without judgement, their lives may be lightened and brightened without you even realising it.
So why then is it so hard to be kind to ourselves? As a mother I put my children first. Their needs before mine. I have written before about the ‘burnt chop syndrome‘ and how I needed to change my behaviour to stop always eating the burnt chop. Looking back over the months since I wrote that post I can see some of the little ways that I have changed, in order to look after myself a bit more. But I can also see that I still haven’t been kind to myself.
Other people praise me for something I have done as a parent, and I can immediately list, even if just mentally, all the things that I haven’t done so well. I don’t celebrate myself very much, yet I celebrate each step that my children take. I expect myself to fail at so many things, yet I expect my children to believe that they will succeed at everything if they try hard and practise enough.
Tonight my daughter was feeling miserable and sorry for herself, and I heard myself giving her advice that was good advice, and is advice that I apply in my daily life. I realised that I need to be proud of my ability to see the silver lining in clouds, the positives in a bad day, and the achievements I have made as a result. If I am not kind to myself, how can I expect my children to be kind to themselves?
What do I think is the answer to ‘why we need to be kind to ourselves’? I believe that if we don’t think we are worthy of kindness, who will? Remember that you are also fighting a hard battle. You have a right to kindness. Look after yourself. Be gentle with your soul. Forgive yourself. Learn from your mistakes instead of wallowing in them. And celebrate the things that make you special.
As for me? I have started a 12 week health and fitness program. I am being kind to myself when I skip a day of exercise, or eat a few extra calories, because I am in this for the marathon, not the sprint! (And I have lost several kilos in the couple of weeks since I started, and that needs to be celebrated !)
I hope that your week is going well, and that you are able to be kind to yourself. Today!!