Kindness to self – a requirement not a luxury


Kindness has become a buzz word lately, and with good reason – humans overall have needed to be reminded of the importance of gentleness and kind heartedness. Now more than ever, I feel that this lovely concept is no longer a luxury but a necessity.

I often hear my clients speak harshly and with little affection towards themselves. However, when asked if they would every speak this way to their 5-year-old child, they recoil in horror!! ‘Of course not, – that would be terrible?!’
MMMmmmm – so why is it ok to speak this way to ourselves as grown women/men? Because we are adults and can handle it? Because we believe it to be arrogant or self-centred to love ourselves? Because someone, somewhere has made us believe that this negativity is the truth?

Whatever the story or justification, what many of these superb women and men fail to remember, is that their gorgeous five-year-old self, IS still with them, is still eavesdropping to every single word and consequently, does feels terrible….

So, without casting judgement, lets together make a pact to NOT treat ourselves as if we don’t matter. For every cell, every nerve ending, every muscle, every organ, hears and feels our thoughts, beliefs and attitudes and behaves accordingly.

Take for example, your lovely legs. How many of you have at some point criticised their look, feel or texture? Deemed them not good enough…. Not thin enough…. Not shapely enough?
I invite you now, to ponder all your legs have allowed you to do, just today… beginning with the basics such as supporting you to get to the bathroom from bed…. then perhaps a walk with the dog in the fresh air, followed by driving your family to their destinations, even climbing some stairs to get to work?

These gorgeous legs have done all of this for you. But instead of a thank you, I love you – they might have been met with unkind thoughts and damaging energy.

To put this into inter personal realms…If you have a colleague at work who continually passed judgement on every act you did, they way you dressed, the way you worked, the look of your desk etc – would you be inclined to work at maximum capacity? Would you emit glowing wonderful energy and turn up to work every day vibrant, healthy and happy? Unlikely.

Your body is no different. When we treat our body and ALL parts of ourselves with kindness and gratitude, approaching all the unique delights it processes with appreciation and love, the energy that is cultivated is clear, glowing and bright.

When we are unkind, mean and neglectful of ourselves and our attitudes towards self, the outcome is not vibrancy. In fact, it can lead to dull and flat energy, limited enjoyment of the everyday and restricted cellular health and wellbeing.

A leading expert in Self Compassion, Dr Kristin Neff extends this further suggesting “self-kindness involves more than just stopping self-judgment. It involves actively comforting ourselves, responding just as we would to a dear friend in need. It means we allow ourselves to be emotionally moved by our own pain, stopping to say, “This is really difficult right now. How can I care for and comfort myself in this moment?”

With self-kindness, we soothe and calm our troubled minds. We make a peace offering of warmth, gentleness, and sympathy from ourselves to ourselves, so that true healing can occur.”
An article in The Washington Post, titled Be kinder to yourself: Research shows it could make you healthier revealed a study that further supports the notion that self-kindness is hugely beneficial for not only our health but our reactivity to life’s stressors.

The 2017 study was published in Health Psychology Open and “found that people who have higher levels of self-compassion tend to handle stress better — they have less of a physical stress response when they are stuck in traffic, have an argument with their spouse or don’t get that job offer — and they spend less time reactivating stressful events by dwelling on them.”

Kindness is a lovely, free and achievable step towards Flourishing. The simple act of gentleness, warmth and compassion for the self and of course others, is a healing modality that is paramount in cultivating wellness.

Not only does it help to release lovely endorphins which act as a natural pain killer, “Like most medical antidepressants, kindness stimulates the production of serotonin.
This feel-good chemical heals your wounds, calms you down, and makes you happy!… Kindness also creates emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and, therefore, oxytocin is known as a “cardioprotective” hormone. It protects the heart by lowering blood pressure.”

When we are kind to our body, it is kind to us.

Kindness is contagious and lies the foundation for maintaining a loving, nurturing relationship with the self.

When we are kind to ourselves, we make loving choices. We nourish ourselves thoughtfully. We honour our being. We invite vitality, warmth and authenticity.

Affirmation – I now honour and value myself. Self-kindness comes naturally and with great joy.