kindness inwards

For all the times that inner voice turns harsh, endeavor to respond with kindness – you’ve got you.

We’re often our own harshest critics, beating ourselves up over perceived flaws, failures and shortcomings with vicious self-talk. That negative internal voice lashes us with insults and put-downs we’d never dream of saying to another person. Yet we allow it to run rampant in our own minds.

Living this way, under a constant regime of merciless self-judgment, is spiritually and emotionally draining. It depletes our confidence, motivation and self-worth over time. It leaves us feeling isolated, inadequate and increasingly averse to trying new things for fear of messing up.

The antidote to this entrenched self-critic is developing true self-compassion – the ability to embrace ourselves with kindness, care and understanding, instead of harsh judgment. To treat ourselves the way we would a dear friend when they are struggling.

With self-compassion, we recognize our shared humanity. That we all suffer, make mistakes and experience hardships. With this wisdom, our inevitable falls and failings don’t define us as inadequate, but as fundamentally human. We go easier on ourselves.

Self-compassion also means meeting our wounds and insecurities with warmth and non-judgmental acceptance, rather than getting hooked by self-criticism. We hold our incomplete, imperfect selves in loving-kindness, providing the reassurance and comfort we need in that vulnerable moment, even if we did stumble.

This inner softening doesn’t make us weak or complacent, as our inner critic may try to convince us. Rather it provides the safety and encouragement needed to grow in healthy, sustainable ways. We’re less paralyzed by fear of failing. More able to pick ourselves up after setbacks.

Research shows self-compassion boosts resilience, happiness levels and motivates positive self-improvement far more than harsh self-criticism. When you resist mercilessly judging yourself, you have more courage to take chances, try new things and confront difficult challenges head on.

Self-compassion also allows you to appropriately set boundaries, nurture your needs and pause for wholesome self-care without guilt or self-flagellation. You learn to honor yourself in simpler yet profound ways each day.One of the most impactful ways to strengthen your self-compassion muscle is by talking to yourself like you would a dear friend going through a hard time. Ask yourself: “What would I say to comfort and uplift someone else in this situation?” Then provide that same warmth and wisdom to yourself.

Ultimately, having our own back through life’s ups and downs is one of the most empowering gifts. It reminds us that we are inherently worthy – not despite our imperfections and struggles, but encompassing all of it. May we endeavor to greet ourselves with the compassion we all deserve.

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