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Be kind to myself?


tami83

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This came up in therapy today.   I am supposed to practice this, or at least research it since I have no idea what this means.  I dislike myself on principle, and know how to be unkind to myself very well  so, how does one be kind to them self given that fact?

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I know what you mean about this.  I think "being kind to yourself" means that you give yourself a break, be positive, and don't criticize yourself too much.  I can be "kind" to others but I am very demanding of myself and have somewhat unrealistic expectations.

Does this make any sense?

 

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Yeah, this is hard. I struggle with it myself. On days when I'm not completely hating myself, I can usually think of some small thing that I would appreciate and then allow myself that thing. When it's really a struggle to do anything but hate myself I have to be creative, and I look for something I can do that is simple. Sometimes it's just a clean pair of socks, or some fresh fruit. Other times I do things that are specific to me, like if I don't have anywhere to be and I can get out of bed, I'll cover up all the mirrors. It takes just one little thing that I would normally worry about off of my plate, and having a little less trouble is an act of kindness.

I think it's just about finding some way to lighten your load, even if it's just for a short time. Just a little space where I don't have to criticize myself.

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Well, you said that you're unkind to yourself on principle, so that's your problem over there - you need to give yourself a chance and give yourself realistic expectations, if something doesn't go perfectly, don't blame yourself, just move on, if something good happens, even if it's minor - treat yourself, have a break, go out. You won't make any progress unless you learn to like yourself, both with your flaws and weaknesses, recognising, than no one in this world is perfect.

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I think the point is that being unkind to yourself isn't gaining you anything.  If anything it is dragging you down and keeping you stuck.  No one is perfect and no one is expected to be.  We have all heard the phrase "unrealistic expectations"  but may not have heard the phrase "unrealistic pessimism"  If we define ourselves by all our of failures and flaws our self view will be built on unrealistic pessimism, seeing ourselves through a negative lens that is distorted.  If however, we are able to give ourselves a break, we can see that our failures and flaws are really just building blocks to a better us down the road.  You have good qualities that are being overshadowed by the hyper focus on all the negatives.  Being kind to yourself is about making the choice to stop tearing yourself down.  If building yourself up doesn't 'feel' right at this point in time what is most important is to at least simply stop the hate train.  Talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend who was self loathing.  Odds are you would not agree with your friend's self loathing assessment of themselves.  Instead you would likely try to point out the ways in which they were worthwhile.   If you treat yourself as a friend as opposed to an enemy you may find your mood and world lift a little bit helping you get started down the road to recovery.  

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