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When you feel less than perfect, do you treat yourself with kindness?

Do you feel that others deserve kindness and self-compassion, but not you?

Many moms find it hard to be kinder to themselves. It can be very difficult to show yourself compassion when you feel like you’re failing as a mom.

The problem with this is that without kindness and self-compassion, you will get stuck in a loop of negativity and stress.

If you struggle to give yourself grace, this post is for you. 

I’ll share with you the myths of self-compassion, why you struggle with putting self-kindness into practice and 11 ways to be kinder to yourself when you feel like you’re not living up to expectations.

The importance of being kind to yourself

Self-kindness is the act of treating yourself with love, gentleness, and acceptance. Just as you would treat a dear friend, it’s nurturing a positive relationship with yourself and practicing self-compassion.

This simple yet powerful concept can transform your life.

It also helps you manage stress and prevent burnout. By prioritizing self-care and giving yourself permission to recharge, you become better equipped to handle challenges and care for your family effectively.

Even more, self-kindness fosters resilience and growth.

Instead of being overly critical when things go wrong, it encourages you to approach setbacks with understanding and compassion. By embracing self-kindness, you create a nurturing environment for personal growth and continuous improvement.

Just as important, incorporating self-kindness requires practice.

This doesn’t come naturally, and it does require some awareness. Become aware of your self-talk and challenge self-critical thoughts with compassionate statements. I will discuss more of this later in the post.

Embracing self-kindness allows you to thrive, benefiting both you and your family. It creates a positive ripple effect on your life and the lives of those around you. These are the reasons why kindness and self-compassion are so important for moms to practice regularly.

What does it mean to be “kinder” to yourself?

To be kinder to yourself means treating yourself with compassion, understanding, and gentleness. It involves prioritizing self-care, challenging self-critical thoughts, setting healthy boundaries, practicing self-acceptance, celebrating achievements, and seeking support when needed.

Being kinder to yourself involves taking care of your well-being by engaging in activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul. It means recognizing and challenging negative self-talk, replacing it with kinder affirmations. It also means learning to say “no” when necessary to protect your energy and prioritize your needs.

Practicing self-acceptance is an important aspect of self-kindness. Embrace your imperfections and understand that everyone makes mistakes. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small, and acknowledge your efforts and progress.

Additionally, seeking support and connection is essential. Surround yourself with a supportive network of people who uplift and encourage you. Reach out to loved ones or professionals when you need guidance or understanding.

Remember, being kinder to yourself is an ongoing practice that requires self-awareness, patience, and self-compassion. Treat yourself with the same love and care you offer others. By embracing self-kindness, you create a foundation for personal growth, happiness, and well-being.

Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn't worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.

The myths of self-compassion

Self-compassion is often misunderstood, leading to several myths about its practice. Don’t let these myths stop you from practicing self-kindness! Let’s debunk these myths:

Myth #1: Self-compassion is a weakness.

Self-compassion takes strength and courage. It involves acknowledging our pain, offering understanding, and providing comfort to ourselves. It allows us to navigate difficult emotions and challenges with resilience and kindness.

Myth #2: Self-compassion is self-indulgent or selfish.

Self-compassion is not about self-pity or self-centeredness. It’s about recognizing our shared human experience and treating ourselves with the same kindness we would offer to others. By caring for ourselves, we can better care for others, fostering healthier relationships and a more compassionate world.

Myth #3: Self-compassion makes us lazy.

Contrary to this belief, self-compassion actually fuels motivation and productivity. When we approach ourselves with kindness and understanding, we’re more likely to bounce back from setbacks, learn from mistakes, and persist in the face of challenges.

Myth #4: Self-compassion is solely a self-esteem boost.

While self-compassion can improve self-esteem, it goes beyond surface-level validation. It involves accepting ourselves with our imperfections and cultivating a deep sense of self-worth that isn’t solely dependent on external achievements. Self-compassion allows us to embrace our inherent value and worthiness, independent of external validation.

By dispelling these myths, we can understand that self-compassion is a powerful tool for emotional well-being, resilience, and healthier relationships. It empowers us to navigate life’s ups and downs with kindness, fostering personal growth and creating a more compassionate world.

Why kindness and self-compassion are so difficult to practice.

Practicing kindness and self-compassion can be challenging for many reasons. Here are a few reasons why you might find it so difficult to practice.

It is a learned behavior: Kindness and self-compassion are skills that are often influenced by our upbringing. If we grew up in an environment where kindness was not modeled or where self-criticism was prevalent, it can be difficult to embody these traits naturally.

Guilt and shame associated with self-care: Many individuals feel guilty or shameful when prioritizing self-care or showing kindness to themselves. Society often emphasizes the importance of caring for others, leading to a belief that focusing on oneself is selfish or indulgent. This mindset can hinder the practice of self-compassion.

Feeling undeserving: Low self-esteem or past experiences may lead individuals to believe they do not deserve kindness or compassion. They may feel unworthy of self-care, leading to self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors that hinder self-compassion.

Perception of toxic positivity: Some individuals may mistakenly associate self-compassion with toxic positivity, believing that it involves ignoring or dismissing negative emotions. However, true self-compassion acknowledges and validates difficult emotions while providing support and understanding.

Overcoming these challenges requires self-awareness, patience, and intentional practice. Overcoming self-criticism and unkindness does take effort but if you want to be free of the feeling of inadequacy and self-hatred, it’s necessary and worth the effort.

The downsides of a lack of kindness and self-compassion

Without self-compassion, you can constantly struggle to fulfill your own mental and emotional needs. You may neglect self-care, experience high levels of stress, and struggle to navigate challenging emotions, leading to emotional depletion.

Negative outlook/mindset

Without self-compassion, you are supporting a negative mindset. Self-critical thoughts and harsh self-judgment take over, hindering your personal growth, self-confidence, and overall well-being. This negative mindset can impact all areas of life, including relationships, work, and personal fulfillment.

Unknowingly passing on the lack of kindness

When you lack self-compassion, you might unintentionally pass on this pattern to others, including their loved ones. It becomes challenging to extend genuine kindness and understanding to others when you can’t practice it for yourself, potentially perpetuating a cycle of unkindness and self-criticism.

Embracing self-compassion allows you to meet your needs, cultivate a positive mindset, and create a ripple effect of kindness and compassion with others. It is an essential ingredient for personal well-being and the cultivation of healthy relationships!

Woman holding up a paper heart

13 ways to be kinder and show yourself self-compassion when you feel like you're failing.

1.Write a letter to yourself as though you are someone else

It can be incredibly comforting to receive a heartfelt message of support from a friend or loved one. Try writing yourself a letter as though you are a friend, showing your care and support. It can serve as a reminder that we are all imperfect and that we are not alone in our struggles.

Here’s an example of a letter you would write to a friend in need of kindness.

Dear [Your Name],

I wanted to take a moment to reach out to you as a friend, offering words of kindness, compassion, and understanding. I want to remind you that you are not alone in your journey.

It’s important to know that we are all imperfect. We all have our flaws, make mistakes, and face challenges along the way. Embrace your imperfections and remember that they are what make you beautifully unique.

I want you to know that your struggles and emotions are valid. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed, uncertain, or even lost at times. But remember, my dear friend, that you are stronger than you think. The fact that you’re still moving forward, seeking growth and self-improvement, is a testament to your resilience.

Please be gentle with yourself. Treat yourself with the kindness and mercy you readily offer to others. Allow yourself to rest when you need it, and don’t hesitate to seek support and guidance from those who care about you. You deserve love, care, and understanding.

In those moments of self-doubt, remember that everyone experiences these feelings. You are not alone in your struggles.

My dear friend, embrace your imperfections, acknowledge your strength, and practice self-compassion. Treat yourself with the kindness, acceptance, and love that you wholeheartedly deserve.

 You are worthy, capable, and deserving of all the kindness and compassion in the world.

With heartfelt support and understanding,

[Your Friend’s Name]

2. Catch and change negative self-talk.

Negative self-talk can surface during moments of personal challenges. When faced with feelings of defeat, it is common to engage in internal dialogue that lacks support or motivation. 

However, it is crucial to recognize and interrupt these negative thoughts. Instead, make a conscious effort to employ positive affirmations or engage in journaling as effective tools for self-transformation.

3.Take a break to acknowledge your feelings.

If you’re a mom that struggles to show yourself some self-compassion, it’s crucial to take a break and acknowledge your feelings. Give yourself permission to pause and acknowledge the weight you carry.

Take a moment to breathe, reflect, and validate your emotions. Remember, you’re doing an incredible job, and it’s okay to feel overwhelmed at times.

Embrace self-care practices that replenish your spirit and seek support from loved ones or a trusted community. You deserve compassion and kindness on this journey of motherhood.

4. Hug someone.

A small but effective strategy for injecting some kindness and happiness into your life.

Hugs have a profound positive impact on self-kindness and self-compassion, as they encourage a sense of connection, comfort, and acceptance, reminding us to be gentle with ourselves and fostering feelings of warmth and care within. When you’re a mom, you have a family that you can give and receive hugs every day. If you have pets, the same applies too.

Hugs are a simple and easy way to practice self-kindness and compassion.

5.Move daily.

Movement and exercise are powerful tools not just for the physical but for the mental and emotional state too.

It can contribute to promoting self-kindness and self-compassion by boosting endorphins, improving mood, nurturing a sense of accomplishment, and fostering a compassionate attitude toward oneself.

Daily movement like taking a walk every day can help reduce stress and prevent it from building up.

6.Include laughter in your life.

Laughter is a powerful tool to boost self-kindness and self-compassion. It lightens the heart, releases tension, and reminds us to find joy in the journey.

Ways to laugh more:  Go to a comedy show, a funny book, or a comic, visit a funny family member, or friend for coffee, or watch a funny sitcom on TV.

7.Show someone else kindness and compassion.

For many people, showing kindness to others puts them in a more positive state of mind and in return could show themselves more kindness.

Showing kindness and compassion to others creates a ripple effect that extends back to ourselves.

When we offer genuine care and empathy to others, it reinforces the value of compassion, reminding us of our own worthiness of kindness.

This exchange of kindness fosters a nurturing environment that allows us to be more compassionate towards ourselves, cultivating a positive cycle of self-care and self-compassion.

8.Find your positive tribe.

Finding a positive tribe of people provides a supportive and uplifting community that encourages self-kindness and self-compassion. 

Surrounded by like-minded individuals who value and uplift one another, we feel seen, accepted, and inspired, fostering a nurturing environment and contributing to the positive cycle of self-care and compassion mentioned in the previous point.

Surround yourself with other kind and compassionate people. Look for groups or clubs with a focus on kindness, compassion, and positivity.

9. Journal.

The act of simply writing down your thoughts on paper can be very therapeutic and could provide relief from build-up stress.

It’s a simple and accessible way to practice kindness and compassion toward yourself. By pouring your thoughts and feelings onto paper, you create a space where you can truly understand and support yourself, like a personal coach encouraging you toward self-love and acceptance.

If you are looking for a guided journal, The High Five Habits Journal is a great place to start your journaling habit.

Learn how you can get started with journaling here.

10. Meet with a good friend.

Meeting with a good friend is a wonderful way to practice self-kindness and self-compassion.

It offers an opportunity to receive support, validation, and understanding, reminding us that we are deserving of love and care. Engaging with a trusted friend allows us to cultivate a compassionate and nurturing relationship, fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance that extends to how we treat ourselves.

11.Recognize your accomplishments.

When we shift our mindset to acknowledge our growth and accomplishments, rather than obsessing over flawless outcomes, we unlock a world of self-kindness and self-compassion. Embracing the journey and celebrating the small wins along the way allows us to be gentler with ourselves, appreciate our efforts, and cultivate a mindset of self-love.

Remember, progress is the path to personal excellence, not perfection!

12.Simple act of hand over heart.

A technique called Compassionate Hand is an exercise that can help you be more mindful of your emotions and offer comfort in the moment or daily to reduce stress and connect on a deeper level with yourself.

How to practice Compassionate Hand (step-by-step):

  1. Find a quiet and comfortable space where you can sit or stand in a relaxed position.
  2. Take a few deep breaths to center yourself and bring your attention to the present moment.
  3. Gently place your hand over your heart, allowing your palm to rest comfortably on your chest.
  4. Feel the warmth and connection of your hand on your heart, symbolizing self-compassion and care.
  5. As you keep your hand in place, repeat kind and affirming phrases to yourself, such as “I am deserving of love and compassion” or “I am enough just as I am.”
  6. Take a few more deep breaths, letting the soothing touch of your hand and the compassionate words sink in.
  7. Stay in this position for as long as you need, allowing yourself to fully embrace the feelings of self-kindness and self-compassion.
  8. When you are ready, gently release your hand and continue with your day, carrying the warmth of self-compassion with you.

Remember, the Compassionate Hand technique is a personal practice that can be adapted to suit your preferences. Adjust the pressure, position, or duration of the hand placement to find what feels most nurturing and comforting to you.

13.Focus on progress, not perfection.

By acknowledging your achievements, big or small, you validate your efforts and worthiness, fostering a positive self-awareness and nurturing a mindset of self-appreciation and kindness.

Celebrating your accomplishments reminds you that you are deserving of your own love and recognition.

Be proud of what you have achieved. Make a list of all your accomplishments no matter how small.

Self-compassion - being supportive and kind to yourself, especially in the face of stress and failure, is associated with more motivation and better self-control.

Being a mom is a tough job with lots of demands. It’s important to remember that you are doing your best. When you feel like you’re failing, try to take a step back and be kinder to yourself.

Use the strategies in this post to practice self-kindness and compassion regularly. Don’t forget to prioritize self-care, seek support from loved ones, and celebrate small victories.  

You are not alone in this journey! Make the commitment today to being kinder to yourself as you navigate the challenges of motherhood.

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