By Linda Commito
Being kind to yourself makes it easier to be kind to others.
How do you talk to yourself when you make a mistake or when you struggle to remember a name or a date? What do you tell yourself when you think that you’re “not good enough or smart enough” or when you say or do something “inappropriate”? Oftentimes, it’s our negative self-talk that is the loudest and yet we don’t even consider that it may be prejudiced, one-sided, or simply wrong.
There was a time in my life when the “Voice in my Head” was quick to judge my thoughts or actions. And perhaps what I was calling “my voice” was really someone else’s, but I didn’t know how to step back and take a reality check on where it was coming from. I realized even then that my negative self-talk was undermining my sense of peace and well-being.
What makes us think that we should be perfect all the time? And when we’re not, how can we learn from our mistakes and use this awareness to be better? Very few of us do well under criticism and judgment. So how can we forgive ourselves—as we do others? What if we change what we can and let go of what no longer serves us as conscious, kind human beings? How do we shift the conversation with ourselves in a loving way and appreciate when we are trying our best?
We usually can’t control the difficult and unpredictable course of life’s events, but we can change how we absorb, think about, and react to them. When we release any negative thoughts, emotions or worry and talk to ourselves with kindness, it serves not only us, but those around us. Besides, being kind to yourself makes it easier to be kind to others.
Perspective is usually something good that comes with aging. Over the years, I’ve had more compassion for myself, as well as for others, which includes being kind to that “voice” in my head. I can now listen and respond with the same understanding that I extend to others: “Maybe it wasn’t the best choice of words OR I should have made a wiser decision OR perhaps I overreacted . . . but this is an opportunity for learning. I can be better next time.”
The bottom line is that this “VOICE” is going to be with us for the duration of our lives, so how can we make it our friend and ally? How can we talk to ourselves with love, kindness, and appreciation? And then how can we extend that same compassion to others?
Remember. Be kind to yourself!
Linda Commito, author, speaker, entrepreneur, consultant and teacher, is passionate about her vision to leave this world a kinder, more loving, and interconnected place. Linda’s award-winning book of inspirational stories, Love Is the New Currency, demonstrates how we can each make an extraordinary difference in the lives of others through simple acts of love and kindness. Her latest project, the card game Just Ask 1 2 3, was inspired by a desire to connect people of all different ages, beliefs and lifestyles to share our individuality and find commonality. Linda also created “Kindness Starts with Me,” a program, book and website for children. For more information visit http://www.LoveistheNewCurrency.com or visit the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Justask123game.