BY BOWFLEX INSIDER TEAM
Growing up, we were always taught to be nice to others and to treat others the way you would like to be treated. However, the message to be kind to yourself as you would to others somehow got lost along the way for some of us. On days when all is going smoothly, our self-esteem may stand tall, but it is the days when everything goes wrong that we tend to be the hardest on ourselves. Our mental self-image can become muddied with negative thoughts.
Everyone struggles with being too hard on themselves. Being mindful of how you can continue to grow is healthy. However, constant doubt, shame and disapproval of one’s self is toxic. You need to shoot down this inner monologue because a toxic mental image will limit you from growing and succeeding in life. So how do you practice self-compassion?
Mindfulness begins with being self-aware of how and when you are negative or positive with yourself. By being mindful, you can take actionable steps to turn the negativity off when you are judgmental. You are going to make mistakes, but it is how you react to them that really matters and helps allow for self-compassion. For example, if you messed up at work, the mindful approach would be to acknowledge the mistake, and instead of thinking “you could’ve done better” think “I acknowledge I made a mistake and am upset about it, but I will grow from it.” In doing this, you are embracing your mistake with compassion and allowing growth from it versus wallowing in it.
Empathy is ingrained in our basic humanity. Being kind to others allows us to be kind to ourselves. One of the easiest ways to change your outlook on self-criticism is by equating how you treat a loved one to how you should be treating yourself. For example, if your best friend didn’t get the job they were interviewing for, you would act empathetic and compassionately toward them. Whereas if this were you, could you say you would do the same? If we treat ourselves with the same level of empathy as we treat our loved ones, there isn’t room for toxic negativity.
You are worthy of love. Simple as that. There are so many reasons to praise yourself and be proud of who you are becoming. Make yourself see this by writing loving affirmations to yourself, taking yourself on a solo date and using the word “no” when doubt arises. It is proven that acts of self-kindness make you happier, healthier and provide a stronger overall well-being. Give yourself permission to treat you the way you deserve to be treated. This can be applied to fitness goals and body image as well. While society may have their idea of what “healthy” means, a healthy lifestyle and fit body come in all shapes and sizes.