Being kind to self isn’t always easy. Even understanding what self kindness is can be a bit confusing. We have talked about how harshly we sometimes judge self and how that can make matters worse. We don’t criticize a leopard cub for not being able to fend for itself. (is that little critter not adorable?!) We understand that growth and change take time. But simply not holding self responsible for anything, isn’t really being kind to self.
Dr. Kristin Neff also makes the point that self-kindness is not self-pity. Self-pity can lead to feelings and beliefs of powerlessness. Powerlessness is not generally a comfortable place to be. The slope from powerlessness to vulnerable to victim can be a slippery one. Identifying as victim can certainly degrade one’s sense of self.
I know that personally I have practiced self-indulgence in the name of self-kindness. I think it’s an easy mistake to make. If I’m experiencing an unpleasant emotion, indulging in some ‘comfort food’ may leap to mind as a means to avoid the feeling. And justifying the indulgence is easy, especially for those of us with lots of practice! But if weight or body image are issues, that bowl of mac and cheese wasn’t self-kindness, it was self-indulgence.
Without beating ourselves up about it, let’s agree that some of the things we do in the name of self-care or self-kindness are not healthy or helpful. Without thinking ourselves as hopeless, maybe we can look for kinder ways to treat ourselves. A brief session with my acrylic paints or even 10 minutes in the garden would truly be showing kindness.
As I mentioned earlier this week, I’m listening to Dr. Kristin Neff’s book,
“Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself.” I find myself talking about this idea constantly and see self-compassion as central to my work (personally and professionally.)
I’d love to hear from you about your self-kindness ideas!
Breathe, believe, and be kind (to you too!) http://ow.ly/i/E8pSA