Do you often say mean and unkind words to yourself? Would you ever speak to a friend, your mother, or your child in that way? Of course, you wouldn’t! In this post, I’m going to show you how to get rid of the negative nelly for good and how to be gentle with yourself instead, in more ways than one.
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How to be gentle with yourself
- Speak kindly to yourself
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve caught myself speaking unkindly to myself, it can be anything from:
You’re just a mess.
You’re too fat.
You’re not a good mom.
you’re not good at that.
I wish I could be like such and such a person.
You’re not a good wife.
You’re just stupid.
You look ugly today.
Why are you wearing that? You look ridiculous.
What stupid thing to do.
You can’t do that
These are just some of the things that go through my head every single day seemingly on a constant loop. I’ve definitely lost some confidence since having the kids and have to fight to stop these negative thoughts.
If you catch yourself thinking unkind thoughts about yourself, try to replace them with things you like about yourself.
- Look after your body
I can hear you all groaning when I say this, but looking after your body and having a healthy heart is one of the best ways to be gentle with yourself.
Don’t drink too much, don’t smoke too much, and exercise just a little, it can make such a huge difference to the way you feel on a daily basis. Just some tiny changes each day can make a huge difference to your overall health.
Walk a little every day, fresh air and a little time outside is the perfect way to recharge your ever-depleting batteries.
Eat a little extra fruit and veg. Don’t force yourself to eat stuff you don’t like, just swap a few unhealthy items with the fruit and veg you do enjoy.
If you want to see an amazing trick I use to get my kids to love eating vegetables read this post.
- Recognize your own beauty and be compassionate with yourself.
Think about one thing that you like about yourself and remind yourself every day how amazing you are.
Think about your strengths, when find yourself talking to yourself imagine you are talking to a friend, what would you say to them?
It’s not an easy thing to do but once you get used appraising yourself and valuing your strengths your self-confidence will grow, and you will start loving yourself more and more.
When you stop criticising yourself the negative voice inside you should dwindle and it should be overtaken by a more confident you.
- Learn to receive a compliment
If you’re anything like me you find it really difficult to receive a compliment from somebody else.
You brush it off, you may say:
“Oh I’m a mess“ when someone says you look nice
Try receiving a compliment as it is meant, in good faith, accept what people are saying to you and believe it! People don’t say things just to be nice if they are saying you look nice, then you probably do! Being gentle with yourself starts right here.
- Stop spreading yourself too thinly
You can’t be everything to everybody, you need to slow down and stop trying to do everything to the detriment of your own well-being.
There’s a saying that goes,
“If you want something doing ask a busy person”, and I know this first hand.
I’ve worked in many jobs where the busiest and most hardworking people were always the ones who were given the most work, while the people who sat around and pretended to be busy never got asked to do anything. I’m so glad I’m out of the rat race for this reason alone!
How many times have your kids walked past their dad to come and ask you for help when you’re in the middle of doing something and he is not!
It’s okay to be gentle with yourself, hand over the reins now and again and let somebody else do the jobs!
- Learn to say no to external demands
One of the best things about getting old is that it’s much easier to be able to say no without feeling guilty.
You don’t have to go out on the Christmas night out
You don’t have to take Auntie Joan out shopping
You don’t have to have six kids over for a sleepover
It’s nice to say yes, but it’s perfectly okay to say no when you need to.
Be gentle with yourself and learn to say no!
- Go with the flow
Let go of the need to control every single situation you find yourself in. Sometimes you’ve just got to accept that things don’t always go according to plan, sit back and enjoy the ride, it’s all part of life’s rich tapestry!
- Do more of what you love in life
Whatever it is, no matter how small, just do it more! Whether you enjoy being alone or if you love being with others it doesn’t matter, just do it more!
- Learn to enjoy some quiet time
When have you ever just sat and done absolutely nothing? I mean really just done nothing. Not reading, not watching television, not eating, not looking at your phone, not ringing anybody, not checking emails, not talking, just sitting doing completely nothing.
Take a chair, take a blanket and go and sit outside, no matter how cold it is, and set your timer for five minutes and do absolutely nothing.
Sit listening to the birds, listen to the noises around you, take some deep breaths, and do nothing. It sounds stupid and like a huge waste of time but you’ll be amazed at how great you feel!
To be gentle with yourself do this every morning or evening when there is nobody else around.
- Enjoy the moment
Make an effort to be more present with the people around you, and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Try to take some time out of your day to enjoy the simple things such as nature, family and your pets. Spending even a small amount of time each day noticing the world around you. It is the best ‘ be good to yourself therapy’ you can give to yourself.
Stop looking for the next big thing and enjoy what you have in the present moment.
To learn how to have a digital detox read this post.
- Get more sleep
Put down the phone, switch off the tv and go to sleep. Go to bed when your kids do if you have to.
Reduce that sleep deficit by going to bed earlier and getting up earlier.
The benefits of getting up earlier are that you get much more done, and are less likely to procrastinate over chores by watching tv or browsing social media than you would in the evenings
- Listen to your body.
We are all guilty of soldiering on even though we are absolutely exhausted.
Listen to your body, if you feel you need to rest, rest when you can and don’t feel guilty about it.
Allow your body some time for healing and decompression, look after your body and soul, forget about others for a while and be gentle on yourself.
- Stopping putting others first.
Knowing how to be kind to yourself is often difficult. Sometimes we can get bogged down by putting other people first when they really don’t deserve it.
Don’t waste your time on people who are ungrateful and unkind, stop allowing yourself to be taken for granted by people who don’t have your best interests at heart.
We all have people in our lives who take us for granted, don’t allow these people to drain the life out of you, spend your time on people who deserve it.
- Learn how to be gentle with other people
Speak kindly to people, be kind to your children and your spouse, smile at strangers.
It’s easy to scream and yell at somebody when you’re behind the wheel of a car that has just cut you up, but next time do yourself a favour and don’t participate in road rage.
Practice loving-kindness, to others, whenever you can. Try to stop judging other people, resenting other people and complaining about people, focus on becoming more forgiving and complimentary, try to see the good in people.
By practising all these things daily, you can learn to be gentler with yourself and others.
Learn how to be a more gentle parent by reading this post
- Drop the guilt
Stop feeling guilty over every little thing that crops up like:
The way you spoke to your spouse.
That you’ve not called your mum.
That you shouted at the kids.
That you sat down for half an hour when the kids were at school.
As I woman I feel guilty over everything I do for myself and I often self-sacrifice, it’s something I really struggle with every single day and need to work really hard to overcome.
- Make life easier for yourself
Empty your diary and simplify your spare time, this way you can carve out some time to decompress. You learnt how to say no earlier on in this post, clearing your diary may mean you need to say no more often, especially to the things that don’t enhance your life!
- Declutter your home
Having fewer possessions means you spend less time cleaning the clutter! This will give you more time to do the things you really love.
If you are overwhelmed with clutter you will find some amazing tips here
- Rekindle your love of reading
When was the last time you sat down for half an hour and read a book just for the love of reading?
When you become a parent, reading is often something that makes us feel guilty, we often feel that we should be doing something more productive with our time. To allow yourself some time to read each day is to truly know how to be gentle with yourself. put down your phone, switch off the tv and pick up a book even if it’s only for five minutes! Try Amazon Unlimited to expand your library!
- Stop worrying about things you have no control over
Stop worrying about the what-ifs. It might happen or it might never happen, either way, there’s not a single thing you can do about it right now. Drop the endless mind chatter and give that monkey mind a rest.
- Practice some daily self-care
Whether you’ve got one minute to spare or one hour, my self-care cheat sheet has a self-care activity to fit even the busiest schedule and guess what, they are nearly all things you can do for free, double win!
- Give meditation a whirl!
Meditation is one of the easiest ways to start to be gentle with yourself and the benefits are amazing. Read how to introduce some simple meditation into your life in this step by step guide.
Five minutes a day is all you need to feel a real benefit!
- Take a daily walk.
Walk the kids to school, walk for half an hour on your lunch break, it really doesn’t matter when you do it just do it! Better still, try swimming, yoga or going to the gym. Exercise of any sort and for even the smallest amount of time can have huge benefits on your mental health.
Frequently asked questions
One of the hardest things to do is to carve time for yourself when you have toddlers or babies at home. It’s really difficult to even get a few fleeting moments to yourself to go to the toilet, let alone find time for self-care.
The important thing to do is to try to get as much sleep as you can, so try to avoid staying up late after the kids are asleep. Get outside with the kids during the day to keep up your fresh air intake and exercise, and remember to breathe!
This is something I struggle with too, the way forward for me was to evaluate my friendships and decide exactly who in my family and friend circle appreciated me, once I had figured that out then the decision became a lot clearer and I found it easier to say no to the people who didn’t matter.
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Quotes about being gentle with yourself
Be gentle with yourself, you’re doing the best you can.
Be patient with yourself, be gentle with yourself. Know that all things are working in your favour. If you take one step towards the light of spirit, spirit will take five steps on your behalf.Lynana Vanzant
Be gentle with yourself. You’re a child of the universe, No less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.Max Ehrmann
Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and non-can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath August sun.Kent Nerburn
Please be gentle with yourself. Your struggle is just part of the story.Rebecca Fox
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourselfMax Ehrmann
Be gentle with yourself, learn to love yourself, to forgive yourself, but only as we have the right attitude towards ourselves, have the right attitude towards others.Wilfred Peterson
Be careful how you are talking to yourself because you are listening.Lisa Hayes
Be kind and gentle with yourself. You are a beautiful child of the light. precious as the stars in the sky. Keep Peace in your heart during the chaos of life.Chantelle Renne
Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.Brené Brown
Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Shower yourself with love. Pamper yourself. Forgive yourself and make peace with your past. Do all of these things because you deserve it.Arathi Variar
You’ve got to trust yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Listen to yourself. You’re the only person who can get you through this now. You’re the only one who can survive your story, the only one who can write your future. All you’ve got to do when you’re ready is stand-up, and begin again.Tessa Shaffer.
Be gentle first with yourself if you wish to be gentle with othersLama Yeshe
The fourth gift is compassion. May you be gentle with yourself and others. May you forgive those who hurt you and yourself when you make mistakes.Charlene Costanzo
Be gentle with yourself, success takes time.
Kindness is loving yourself and to love those around you.
Be gentle to all and stern with yourselfSaint Teresa Of Avila
Remember to be gentle with yourself you’re doing a great job!