Author: Kassy Nguyen
When was the last time you have practiced self-kindness? Often more than I am sure most of us would like to admit, we are quite self-deprecating and harsh on ourselves. Although, it is often time normalized by the media to be self-deprecating and have such humor, sometimes doing so affects your mental health negatively. It’s not easy practicing self-kindness and I have personally struggled a lot with this mindset as I find myself frequently putting myself down for a mistake or a failure that occurred in my life. Instead of being positive, I’d be pessimistic and reprimand myself. However, in the long run, this mindset of being harsh to yourself can be seriously draining and damaging to your self-esteem. Now that I have realized how much self-kindness affects you and your well-being, I have ultimately decided to also prioritize the way I treat myself a lot more.
Just recently, I played a tennis match with my partner and our opponents were a duo that was much younger and inexperienced than us. As our coach stood there watching our match with expectant eyes, I and my partner felt the looming pressure and presence. My partner and I played our best, but in the end, we lost with the score being 3-1 (we were unable to finish an entire set of 6 games due to time constraints). It was even more devastating considering that everyone thought we would win against such opponents. When I drove home, I felt sad and angry at myself for not being able to win and making so many unforced errors. I chastised myself for having made mistakes and not winning despite my coach’s expectations. However, right in the middle of chastising myself, I remembered that doing so would most likely lead to a worse outcome for my mindset.
Therefore, I stopped myself and decided that instead of being disappointed in myself, I should switch my thinking and my speaking behavior to something more kind. For example, I said to myself, “Even if I didn’t win, I played my best and had fun!” I also repeated some self-affirmations such as “I believe in myself, I give myself space to grow, and I will be kind to myself.” Repeating these comforting affirmations was a way for me to stop reprimanding myself and remind myself that I am worthy no matter what outcome. Speaking to yourself kindly is very crucial in making you a more positive and happier person rather than being negative about yourself.
Although right after a draining tennis match both mentally and physically, I was given the opportunity to continue to be negative and mean to myself for the entire day, but I stopped it. Instead, I replaced it with kinder words to myself and a more positive mindset. I saw a change in my mental wellness not just during tennis matches, but in my everyday life as well. Speaking nicer to myself allowed me to accept my flaws and move forward. If I made a mistake it is not the end of the world and I should keep my chin up!
Another way I practice self-kindness is through having self-care days or days to recharge by myself. Sometimes allocating time to yourself is necessary because it gives you time to spend time with just yourself to relax and not overthink about anything. As an introvert, this is especially important because I gain energy through alone time rather than being in a group setting. Instead of having a mind busy with intrusive thoughts or worries, you have time to completely unwind from life during a self-care day. It’s a day all about and for you. A very popular self-care day trend is a spa day! It’s something I would definitely try to continue to do more of. I mean who doesn’t like to lay in bed wearing a cooling face mask while watching a new Netflix series!
Many people in this day and age tend to stick to a self-deprecating, negative mindset when viewing and talking to themselves. They forget to realize that practicing self-kindness is important for your mental wellness because self-compassion is vital during times where you feel like a failure. You do not need to be perfect and no one else is, so instead of beating yourself up, learn to be kind to yourself and cherish who you are.