We teach our children to be kind from the time they are able to reach out and grab our hair. Kindness is a common theme in preschools and elementary schools. It’s a trait we admire in others and cultivate in ourselves.
Yet, we are not always kind to ourselves.
Forgetting how to be kind to yourself
Humans generally learn empathy around four years of age. Up until that point, the world quite literally revolves around us, at least in our own minds. Very young children have no problem letting you know when they have needs that are not being met, even before they can tell you what is wrong.
As we grow older, though, many of us forget that it’s okay – even necessary – to make sure our needs are met. As with our relationship with money, our relationship with ourselves can fall out of balance. Interestingly, the causes of an unbalanced relationship with ourselves are often very similar to unbalanced money relationships.
We are afraid of losing something. Respect. Status. Money. Love.
We think if we just work harder, everything will be okay. But working harder is not always the answer, especially when we work harder and neglect ourselves.
It’s time to relearn that we matter, too.
Relearning how to be kind to yourself
Only toddlers and politicians can get away with advocating for their needs and desires at the expense of others. No one needs to suffer in order for you to be kind to yourself. Here are some small changes you can make that will have little impact on others but can have a huge impact on YOU:
- When you are sick, take time to rest. I wish I had written – and heeded – this advice two weeks ago. After a bout of food poisoning on my way back from ProfitCON, I dove right into the work that had accumulated while I was away. Consequently, I left myself susceptible to another illness…which struck last week. Had I taken the time I needed to recover initially, I would have been much better equipped to handle my workload, and I would have served my clients and my family better.
- Routinely take time to reflect. Meditate, go for a walk, or just light a candle and take a long bath. Whatever you do, take some time each day – or at least a few times a week – to be alone without demanding anything of yourself. You will return to your work with renewed focus and energy.
- Eat well, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. As entrepreneurs, the first things we give up are healthy meals, physical activity, and sleep. Yet studies abound that tell us why foregoing these three things sabotage our success. Try only eating fast food once or twice a week. Set an alarm on your phone so you get up and move at least once every 90 minutes. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier.
- Start – or restart – a hobby. What did you like to do in your spare time, when you still had spare time? Maybe you don’t have hours to spend on a large project anymore, but smaller projects can be just as challenging and fulfilling as larger ones. Make some time each week to do something you love that isn’t related to your business.
These are just a few suggestions. As with all things, making one or two small changes will have a greater impact than trying to completely overhaul your lifestyle all at once.
Here’s to being cool and being kind…to yourself.