In Heart to Heart, my eBook with Anna Guest-Jelley, we focus on cultivating kindness, because we don’t heal ourselves with insults, judgement and body bashing. We heal ourselves — our bruised body image, our sinking self-worth — with compassion.
I like Sharon Salzberg’s definition of kindness in her book The Kindness Handbook: “Kindness can manifest as compassion, as generosity, as paying attention.”
Margarita Tartakovsky is an associate editor at PsychCentral.com, an award-winning mental health website, and the voice behind Weightless, a blog that helps women deal with body image issues and disordered eating. She also writes a monthly feature for Beliefnet.com, covering topics such as patience and procrastination.
Editor: Nadeem Noor
Here are the many different ways you can practice kindness toward yourself every day:
- Instead of judging yourself for making a mistake or feeling a certain feeling, being curious. How did I make this mistake? Why am I upset about this situation? What can I do to feel better?
- Naming and exploring your feelings. Today, I feel frustrated because…
- Giving yourself permission to feel all your feelings, even the painful ones, which will inevitably pass.
- Closing a magazine that makes you feel bad about yourself. It isn’t me who’s inadequate. It’s the magazine’s ridiculous messages.
- Taking a break when you need one.
- Asking a loved one for a hug when you need one.
- Creating your personal “conditions of enoughness.”
- Saying no to a request that doesn’t feel right.
- Accepting a compliment instead of listing all the reasons why you don’t deserve it. Thank you. I so appreciate you saying that! You made my day.
- Speaking to yourself with patience and understanding. Here are 25 compassionate sample statements and 25 more.
- Carving out moments in your day to pay attention to yourself and tuning into how you’re doing.
- Stretching your body.
- Not fixating on how much you weigh, and instead focusing on how you feel and the habits that make you happy.
- Being honest with yourself about a difficult situation.
- Following what interests and inspires you.
- Savoring your favorite foods.
- Checking in with how you feel after eating certain foods.
- Not making critical comments about your body in conversations with others.
- Getting curious about how different emotions feel in your body. What happens when I feel sad? Does my stomach hurt? Do I get a headache? What happens when I’m anxious? Do my palms get sweaty? Do I feel tension in my shoulders?
- Journaling about what you need more and less of in your life.
- Celebrating your body’s many gifts — the gifts of walking, talking, tasting, seeing, smelling, smiling, laughing.