When you look in the mirror, who do you see? Do you see a friend? An enemy? A stranger? The journey to self-love can be a bumpy road. But the only way to become the best version of you in the future, is by loving and accepting who you are now. Acknowledge your setbacks and celebrate your wins. Here are 5 ways you can be kinder to yourself.

1. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the act of being fully present and aware of the current moment while acknowledging, processing, and accepting one’s own thoughts and feelings. It has been proven to lower stress levels and allow a person to gain insight into their own mind. 

You can do it right now. Close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations in your body. You will feel your heart beating, feel your lungs fill with air. You’ll hear the sounds around you, feel the clothes on your body. You were doing and feeling these things all along, but the difference is intention. You are now intentionally feeling the sensations around and within yourself. Now, do the same thing with your thoughts and actions. Try to live in the moment with a heightened sense of awareness. Intentionally acknowledge how you are feeling, whether that be happiness, anger, stress, etc. Allow yourself to feel these emotions, and remember these feelings are a part of being human.

2. Create Time For Yourself

It’s easy to get caught up in your responsibilities and let your well-being take a back seat. Living in a capitalistic society has conditioned us to believe that taking time to do anything but work is a waste of time. This is an unhealthy mindset to fall into. Meditating, doing yoga, or working out are great ways to take care of your body and mind.

Remember, self care is not selfish. If you are constantly working and never giving yourself a break, you are becoming more prone to burnout. Take the time to do things that you love to do. Indulge in your hobbies, go out to eat with friends, take yourself on a movie date. Being kind to yourself means giving yourself a break when you need one.

3. Recognize Your Accomplishments, Even Small Ones

You don’t have to win a Nobel prize or win an Olympic medal to finally acknowledge your accomplishments. An accomplishment can be as small as getting out of bed and brushing your teeth. Any time you feel proud of yourself, take a moment to relish in that feeling. Tell yourself internally or out loud, “I am proud of myself.”

Recognize the things that you are good at instead of dwelling on things you think you need to work on. Maybe you aren’t the best writer but you’re a math wiz. Maybe you are a bit stubborn, but you give your friends great advice. Take your good qualities, cultivate them, and use them to accomplish your goals.

4. Practice Forgiveness

Forgiveness is something we often extend to others, but rarely to ourselves. Maybe there is something you did in the past that you still feel guilty about. Maybe you made a mistake at work today. Perhaps you didn’t meet your goals when you wanted to. Or, you were too scared to take a chance on something. Acknowledge these negative feelings, reflect to see where you can improve, and live your life with a new perspective.

Remember that self-love is a journey that lasts forever. You aren’t going to wake up one day to a perfect person, because perfection does not exist. You are human and you will make mistakes. Instead of beating yourself up over a setback, take this time to reflect. Turn this mistake into a lesson. What could you have done differently and how will you be better in the future.

5. Treat Yourself With Compassion and Respect

Respecting yourself also includes respecting your boundaries. Don’t force yourself to do things that make you uncomfortable. Don’t push yourself to be around people who have a negative impact on your mental health for their comfort. Don’t sacrifice your well-being for the sake of other people’s feelings.

Even though it may be hard to find the motivation, doing something as simple as making your bed, taking a shower, or doing the dishes is treating yourself with respect. Taking care of yourself is respecting yourself. You deserve to be clean and to live in a clean environment. But also, keep an open line of communication with yourself and treat yourself with compassion. Life can get busy, so forgetting to do laundry is not the end of the world. Practice self-compassion and don’t beat yourself up over small things.

Bonus: Positive Affirmations

  • “I am worthy of love”
  • “I am capable of love”
  • “I have so much to offer the world”
  • “I forgive myself” 
  • “I am proud of myself” 
  • “I am resilient” 
  • “I am deserving of happiness” 
  • “ I am going to keep trying”
  • “I am enough”
  • “I love the person that I am, flaws and all”

Treating yourself with kindness is simply changing the tone of your inner monologue. Remember, self-love and kindness is not just about saying positive affirmations in the mirror. It is a combination of all these tips and making an effort to be intentional and mindful. The goal is not to lie to yourself and pretend you are perfect. It is about acknowledging your pain and frustrations with yourself, actively working towards a better version of you, and fostering a positive dialogue with yourself.

Looking to create a more positive and safe space? 

Listen to how Lucy De La Rosa strikes a balance between mental health and home spaces with her holistic approach towards intern design on the Positive AF podcast with Dez Decosta.

Is someone you love going through a rough time? 

Read on about How To Support Someone’s Personal Journey.

Feeling stuck in your comfort zone?

Read on about Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone For Personal Growth