Being kind to others is always what we were told to learn since young. In 1990s, Singapore Kindness Movement was launched in response to our government’s aim to make Singapore a kind and gracious city. We were constantly encouraged to lend a helping hand, be considerate, courteous and spare a thought for others around us so that each of us can become a better person to live in a harmonious, multi-racial society.
In my opinion, we are pretty much trained to be kind to others and quite naturally we know when to practise kindness when necessary. However, have you ever thought what is it like to be kind to yourself and why is it important to do yourself this favour too?
We are constantly living in a demanding and stressful society where there is so much to juggle every day. You might be rushing to meet deadlines at your work arena, scheduling activities for your kids, chasing your dreams, achieving goals after goals and fulfilling the never-ending to-do list.
Now, pause a moment to think, have you neglected yourself and your well-being over all these pursuits? Can you slow down and do yourself a favour by practising some kindness for yourself first?
Kindness starts from within… and this is the best thing you could do for yourself. Being kind to yourself is a way of loving yourself. You could create happier relationship with yourself and others along the way and make life a more pleasant journey even through tough times.
Here are 7 suggested ways which you could be KIND to yourself:
- Practise Patience – You can learn to be patient with yourself and not hurry your day through. If you have to take a longer time to fulfil or achieve something, then take that time for yourself and not compete with others. Set your own pace and be patient with yourself that you can eventually achieve what you set up for. You don’t have to compete with others or race yourself against time when it is not necessary to do so.
- Take the Pressure off – You don’t have to pressurise yourself by putting yourself up to achieve anything beyond your reach. When people set huge goals which they can’t achieve, they are in fact setting themselves up for failure instead. Be kind to yourself and set realistic goals which you can achieve. You can start smaller goals and escalate it bigger when you can accomplish the smaller ones.
- Make Time & Space for yourself to rest and rejuvenate. Your body and mind need rest and breaks. Be kind to your body so it can function at a healthy level without tension and stress. It is important to spend some “me-time” to quiet down your mind without any distraction of people, mobile devices and social media on a regular basis.
- Forgive yourself for any mistake or failure. No one is perfect. It is alright to make mistakes in life and it’s through mistakes and challenges, we learn and grow. When you can be kind to forgive yourself, you release all grudges of the past and people and you no longer hold on to those hurt and pain anymore.
- Know when to say NO to others and not shoulder any extra burden or responsibility unnecessarily. You might jump in and help others but forgot that it may not be your duty to resolve other’s issues and problems. Ask yourself this, do you have a duty or obligation to them? If not, surely they can work things out for themselves eventually.
- Do not judge yourself – You may often judge yourself harshly and that you are not good enough. You may feel inferior, incapable or may not look as good or as successful as others… these are toxic judgement of yourself! Learn to accept yourself as you are and be kind to YOU. Know that everyone is different and unique. See your own beauty and have gentle loving thoughts of yourself instead.
- Feel gratitude towards yourself. When was the last time you compliment or praise yourself? Everyone needs a pat on our shoulder at times so you can appreciate what you do or have done for yourself. Be generous in giving and receiving for yourself. With this gratitude, you will nourish yourself and appreciate life more even when things are not as cheery.
- Be flexible and open – You don’t need to be so rigid in life or stick to your own plans and rules. Life is flowing and changing all the time. Being flexible can add a little spice and fun here and there. It’s ok to skip a fitness class once in a while if you feel tired, it’s ok to have that piece of chocolate when you crave for it and it’s ok to take a nap when you need it! Who are you answerable to? Why must you score 100% all the time? Who says you can’t give yourself some leeway and open to endless possibilities in life?
There are many more ways be kind to yourself. You can create your own list or add onto this one along the way. However, the most important thing here is to be mindful of yourself and take notice when you can be gentle and kind to yourself. Start NOW, whether in a small or big way, kindness is still kindness. You will see a difference in yourself and others around you. When you are kind to yourself, you will be naturally kind to others.
As you do, so you become.
As the founder of Eleven, Iris believes that we can inspire people with real-life stories and personal experiences so we all can live a supportive and meaningful life with one another. She is passionate about learning and self-development and believes that one should keep learning till the last breath.
Learn more about her here.