Be Good To Yourself - 8 Strategies

Mar 04, 2021

“Be good to yourself, you're all you have.”

How many times have you heard people say, "don't be so hard on yourself"? If it's a lot, then this little blog could be a game-changer for you.

Many of us are subjected to the negativity of others and the huge amount of media messages focused on how we can be, look, feel, eat, dress and even behave better. This has become so common place, the constant stream of criticism has almost become sub-conscious. This makes it even more dangerous and, therefore, we are more likely to begin accepting these things as truths. In fact, they are nothing of the sort. While none of us may be perfect, we are all amazing. We all have unique gifts, perspectives and experiences that are worthy of, at least, self love. Indeed, I would suggest self love is not the pinnacle of being good to yourself, but merely the foundation.

Here then, are the 8 Strategies to help you Be Good To Yourself:

1. Stop listening to the criticism of others.

I'm re-reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz at the moment. One of the agreements is "Don't take anything personally." The things others do and say are a reflection of what is going on in their lives as opposed to their true feelings about you. People who have not felt love growing up often struggle to love themselves and that projects onto others through their behaviours. So, when you encounter harshness from others, project only love back.

2. Forgive yourself.

Everyone is doing their best with the resources they have. Those resources often come in the form of knowledge, understanding and experience. In order to love yourself, you need to forgive yourself for choices you’ve made. Simply, make the decision to try to do better every day. 

3. Forgive others.

Forgiving others is about letting go of the pain, setting yourself free from the heaviness of holding a grudge. This was the principle behind the Truth & Reconciliation Commission in South Africa when apartheid came to an end. Through facing their victims and both sides seeking only the truth, everyone was able to move on from the bitterness that would otherwise have festered inside them for generations.

The Truth & Reconciliation Commission and Nelson Mandela's former bodyguard, Chris Lubbe appear in this week's video too.

4.  Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend.

We would never talk to our best friend in the ways we let our Inner Critic talk to us. We would not judge them so harshly or criticise their efforts so routinely. Instead, we would show empathy for their situation, gratitude for their efforts and be generous with our praise for their thoughtfulness. If you find yourself battling with your Inner Critic, try this little exercise:

Sit down, across from an empty chair. See yourself sitting in that chair. Imagine that the you in that chair is your best friend, who is sharing with you all of his or her perceived weaknesses. Now respond as if this is your best friend? Do this regularly until you no longer beat yourself up routinely!

5. “Do as little as needed, not as much as possible.”— Henk Kraaijenhof

This quote from an Olympic Coach is a critical component of looking after ourselves. None of has limitless energy. If we constantly accept all requests or demand of ourselves all-out effort all the time, we will eventually burn-out. Being good to ourselves includes preserving our energy for the things in life that bring us joy and propel us towards our dreams. The psychologist, Gay Hendricks, in his book, The Big Leap, suggests saying No often to focus on activities that are clearly in your "Zone of Genius". Saying no for that reason may even inspire others to start considering their own activities.

6.  Do something for someone else.

All of that saved energy will make some space for you to help someone else. This is the quickest antidote to depression and it’s also a very powerful way for you to begin to love your self. Random acts of kindness can work just as well as helping someone you know well. Make an anonymous donation, send a surprise gift for no reason. It will boost your self esteem and make someone's day.

7.  Keep Smiling.

What makes you smile? Simple and fun activities like listening to music, listening to an inspiring podcast, walking in nature, watching a fun film, exercising or meditating. Create a list of enjoyable activities and see if you can squeeze in at least five every day. When you make this a daily priority, you are giving yourself the message that you deserve to be treated well. After a while, you will begin to believe it. 

8.  Do a Daily Audit.

Most people find it quite easy to list the things they do which don't quite hit the mark. If you make a daily habit of listing all the things you have done that were great, you'll soon find it just as easy to recall this self-boosting list. Every day, if you're like 99% of the population, you will seek to help others, collaborate, support and who knows, even be kind to yourself. By developing a routine and literally counting these things you will create something called "cognitive dissonance" which is a discomfort with an outdated belief. In this case, your old belief will be that you are not good enough. Your really are.

If you have found this interesting / illuminating or both, please feel free to share it with just one friend who could benefit from reading it too. And, for more like this, why not come and join the TCM Community? Right now, you can join for 30 days for just £1.

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