Everywhere you look someone is telling us to practice “self-care.” I know there’s a science behind it, but I think we need to pump the brakes a little on adding more pressure to our lives and ask a simple question. Are you kind to yourself?
Really think about it. Actually kind. The kind you would expect your children to be on the playground? The kind you display to others when they are hurting. Truly kind.
At least not all of the time.
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Where Did All the Kindness Go?
I feel like I’m a kind person. The help a stranger jump start their car kind of person. The remembering birthdays kind of person. The bring you a lasagna kind of person. I bet you are too.
But I’m not always kind to myself. Sometimes I’ll beat myself up that I’m a few minutes late to the office because my two year old took eleven years to brush her teeth. Or I’ll belittle how much progress I’ve made on writing my book because I missed a self imposed deadline. I will say that I don’t play the social media comparison game, while simultaneously playing the social media comparison game.
I question decisions I’ve made in my parenting, or stuff I could have just as easily let slide in my marriage. While I do my best to keep in touch with friends, sometimes I’ll get so busy that I lose track of the weeks. Then I feel that guilty pit in my stomach when someone asks how that friend is doing and I have no clue. When I think about all of this, I don’t extend a lot of true kindness back in my own direction. Instead its a little judgement, and a lot of pressure to do better. And a sinking feeling I was supposed to be doing a face mask or something.
Learning to Be Kind
Even after listing out all of the reasons I’m not as kind to myself as I could be, I know that I’m much better at self-kindness these days than I used to be.
I was the high school kid who got carted off in an ambulance twice because I worked myself into such a perfectionist frenzy I forgot to eat and let my blood sugar plummet. I would throw pity parties of one when I wasn’t in a relationship and I’d over analyze what I was doing wrong. And as a new mom, I sobbed in the doctor’s office on more than one occasion questioning my ability to properly parent and bounce back to my pre-baby body.
Getting older has helped. I’ve found that perfect isn’t attainable and quite honestly boring. I stopped worrying about what was wrong with me and instead focused on what I needed from a relationship to be happy. And in motherhood, well. We are all just doing the best we can. That’s not to say I won’t question my choices. But I do give myself a bit more grace.
A Body of Kindness
Part of the argument for self-care is about taking care of your body. Which I’m all for, but like everything else I think it starts with some kindness.
There are days when I feel uber comfortable in my own skin and I couldn’t care less what the size on the back of my pants says. But then there are also days that those pants fit a bit snugger, or that one of my kids says my belly is “fuzzy,” or I catch a not so flattering multi chin look in the mirror.
Some not very kind thoughts spring their way to the forefront.
On the flip side of this, I really enjoy chocolate. And peanut butter. And chocolate covered peanut butter things. I gave up carbs once for a day and made a meme about it I was so miserable.
I want to be model to my kids that being kind to yourself is taking good care of the vessel that carries around your brain. That means eating well and moving, all that jazz. But I also want them to see that being kind to yourself is respecting that vessel for what it is and not wishing it away, or up, or slightly more toned. Oh and that sometimes “self-care” doesn’t have to be a whole big thing to add to your calendar, it can be showing yourself some kindness and eating that chocolate. It’s fine!
Sharing Some KINDness
So here’s the deal. I started writing this post because I’m partnering up with KIND. You know them. The delightfully delicious snacks with very readable ingredient labels. But then I got on a big old soapbox and started talking about being kind to yourself and here we are 700 words later. Felt good though, cathartic. Kind even.
Because kindness to others is showing them respect and consideration. So kindness to yourself is showing yourself respect and consideration. To continue on my “self-kindness journey,” if you will, I’ll keep that in mind.
As a professional I’ll give myself credit where it is due. As a mother I’ll trust my own judgement. As a person, I’ll respect my body, give myself a break,and indulge in what makes me happy. Peanut butter, chocolate, a healthy mix of grains, and a snack that I can eat in the car without worrying about becoming the mayor of crumb city – well that fits that bill quite nicely.
So sure, I’m pitching snacks here. But snacks with purpose! And if you also enjoy things that taste good, travel easily, and contain portable quinoa, check out KIND and use the code BECCAKIND20 for 20% off of your order. How’s that for kind?
But even if you’re not in the snack bar market, use this as a reminder that quite frequently we aren’t as kind to ourselves as we are to others. And there is so much pressure around us to add more in order to show that you are practicing self-kindness. Maybe we can simplify this a little and give ourselves a break, and perhaps a little love.
Remember promo code BECCAKIND20 saves you 20% off of KIND Snacks on KINDSnacks.com. Join the Snack Club for monthly deliveries or find variety packs that you won’t see in the store.