(sorry to paraphrase Edwin Starr!)
I recently got to thinking about kindness and why I started my blog. If you’ve read the about me page, you’ll know I got the name for my blog from an Albert Einstein quote extolling the virtues of kindness, beauty and er truth!
“The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth”
Now I am by no means perfect and I am very new on this particular journey, but one thing that I have become more and more aware of is also being kinder to yourself.
Lately in the media there has been lot of movement towards body positivity and self acceptance which defies a lot of populist culture which tells us to look a certain way, and value our appearance and those of others above any other characteristic. And in the past I can certainly say I am guilty of judging myself and others by those standards.
But what does hating myself achieve? how does it make me a better person? what does obsessing about the way I look do to my brain?
Conclusion: it turns me into a narrow minded self absorbed creature who can only count calories and obsess over numbers on a scale and worry about how people view her! This is hardly an optimum mindset to foster acts of kindness.
So here’s my guide to being kinder to yourself!
- Do not compare yourself to others. You are a beautiful unique individual, the like of which the world has never seen or will see again. So celebrate this fact and stop worrying about how you stack up to anyone else.
- Be grateful for what you have. This is a lesson I constantly need to keep reminding myself of. In the era of Facebook it is so easy to get massive FOMO and envy over what everyone else appears to have. It’s so easy to believe every one has a better job, everyone has a great relationship, everyone has the perfect family. These are small snapshots of someones life and not the full picture. And you never know who would be so grateful for the gifts in your life you take for granted.
- if your clothes don’t fit, buy new ones! don’t use them it as a stick to beat yourself with.
- Do something for someone else. kindness begets kindness and being a good person will never go out of style.
- When your inner critic starts telling you that you look fat or ugly or you’re stupid, just ask yourself if you’d ever say these things to your best friend? Probably not? So be your own best friend and stop the negative voice. Imagine what the person who loves you, whether its your bestie, partner, family would say to make you feel better, and tell it to yourself!
- Remember your worth is not defined by your looks and your life will not get better when you look a certain way.
- Remove the people and situations from your life that make you feel bad. If a friend is always making derogatory comments about you, they are not your friend!! I haven’t bought a glossy magazine in 2 years, as Baz Lurhman said “do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly”
- Celebrate your achievements no matter how small, on a regular basis! Nailed that parallel parking today?! high five! gave your seat up on the tube to someone in need? yeay for you! finished a task you were dreading at work? pat on the back! be your own number one fan!
- Exercise because you enjoy it, not as a punishment for not being the “perfect” size or because you ate too much
- Find the routine that makes you happy, for me its early morning runs, regular yoga and walks in the countryside, and curling up with a pizza and a good good of wine or two at the end of a busy week. I find as much zen in pizza as I do in yoga!
Got any other great tips for fostering a more body positive attitude? I’d love to hear them!