This is the first post of mine and Alice’s Insightful Discussions blog series, where we will blog on interesting discussion questions! The link to Alice’s blog can be found here. In this blog post we will talk about whether it is possible to always be kind to yourself, which is a common discussion topic when approaching mental health.
When describing the concept of kindness, there is no concrete definition – it will mean different things to different people. For some people, it means not judging themselves for not being perfect, for other people it means being their own cheerleader. For some, it could simply involve being kind to others. The most important thing is that you find your own way to be kind to yourself.
There are plenty of reasons why we should be kind to ourselves. These include boosting our wellbeing or helping us through stressful events, such as a breakup or rejection. However, sometimes we can be unkind to ourselves too, such as forgoing our relaxing time when facing busy schedules. Therefore, is it unrealistic to ALWAYS aim to be kind to ourselves? It’s in our human nature to question, to be curious as well as to doubt ourselves, because we all want to be the best we can be. However, we both believe that we can all take crucial steps everyday to make sure we are kind to both ourselves and others, because there is never an endpoint to finding new ways of improving upon the way we see/feel about ourselves.
Ultimately, whether we are kind or unkind to ourselves is dependent on our mindset and our thinking. Similar to external habits, our mind creates habits too. We can get stuck in rotational thinking processes (whether positive or negative) and this can determine the way we show up and experience the world. As a result, if we’re used to tearing ourselves down over small mistakes, questioning our self-worth, or any version of being unkind to ourselves, we are more likely to continue doing so because it’s ingrained in our system. But how much control do we have over this? Can we not adapt the way we react to these thoughts and try to reframe them?
The truth is that, like anything, learning to be kind to yourself is a journey. If it doesn’t come easily to you, or you’re stuck in a negative thinking cycle, then it will take work, but it’s entirely possible to improve upon the way you see and feel about yourself. Whether you start practicing positive affirmations, replacing bad thoughts with good ones, or setting aside time each day to focus on your wellbeing, it all makes a difference.
We personally believe that being truly kind to ourselves is acknowledging those days when we don’t feel great and our mind seeps back to a negative space, and accepting it for what it is. Our mind isn’t a perfect place – it doesn’t always have positive thoughts – but it’s how we react that matters.