How To Be Kind To Yourself: 6 Expert-Approved Strategies

Since Golden says some people might assume they’re already being kind to themselves, here are a few key ways you can check in to see if you might actually be more critical of yourself than you realize — directly from our mental health experts:

• “They may not prioritize or even pay attention to their own needs or wants. They may have too loose or rigid boundaries with people in their lives,” said Golden.

• “They tend to be very perfectionistic, highly competitive, or immensely self-critical. For this group, the thought of being kind to the self is considered a weakness rather than a strength,” said Dr. Manly.

• “Their inner dialogue might be one of negativity and self-doubt,” said Golden.

• “In other cases, a lack of self-kindness can manifest from disregarding one’s own needs for self-care. This can result in poor mental, emotional, and physical health,” said Dr. Manly.

• “[They could] compare themselves to others, not give themselves the benefit of the doubt, or choose not to take risks because they doubt themselves and their abilities,” said Golden. 

• “They’re very focused on being ‘happy’ or ‘positive’ all of the time. When we don’t make space for all of our emotions — which include sadness, anger, fear, and joy — we’re being unkind to ourselves by disregarding our true emotional needs,” said Dr. Manly.

While there are a lot of reasons why this negative inner dialogue may occur, Golden emphasized that one of the main reasons could be that some people might feel they’re undeserving of being kind to themselves (which, by the way, you deserve kindness, especially from yourself!). 

“Some people may feel so badly about themselves that they don’t feel entitled to or deserving of their or anyone else’s kindness,” she explained. “They might think that doing something that benefits them and not others is ‘selfish.'” 

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