Life by Design: Start with Kindness Toward Yourself

Life by Design
Start with Kindness Toward Yourself

It seems like I can do anything for anybody else. My sister needed help getting her house all spruced up for a party she was having and I was over at her house 3 days last week helping her. That meant that I didn't have time to finish my report for the school board so I had to stay up all night to do it. I do this kind of thing for everyone. And I'm always criticizing myself - if you could hear me talk to myself, you'd be shocked. I'd never say those things to anyone else. What's going on here and what can I do about it?
One of the major characteristics I see with women - especially mothers - is the generosity and kindness given to every one else but themselves. It is standard for them to pack everyone else's lunch and then skip their own. They will forgive their children anything but relentlessly and un-forgivingly criticize every little mistake and lack of judgment of their own. They will go without sleep so they can support a friend. And abandon their dreams in favor of making sure their significant other or children get what they want.
Every time you fail to give loving kindness to yourselves in the same measure - or more - that you give to others, you disrespect and dishonor yourself. This leaves you empty and spent with nothing to give to anyone.
By learning to be kind to yourself first, you experience the wonder of who you are. Because you are intimately connected to everyone else, when you truly experience the wonder of yourself you cannot help but respect, honor and be naturally loving and kind to all others. When you are kind to yourself, you allow your self and your life to reconnect to its natural purpose - happiness. And happiness pulls you forward.
Ways to be kind to yourself:
Write down the kind and compassionate things you did today and hold yourself in reverence for those acts of kindness and compassion.
When you do something kind for another do something kind for yourself.
Pledge time to your own self-care - and really take that time for yourself.
Before you go to bed truly forgive yourself for any mistake, upset or error you made the day. Keep the learning and release the mistake.
Develop and practice loving kindness meditation for yourself. The simplest example of this is to spend some time each day bringing your attention, focus, and concentration to those things you wish for yourself. Not in a desperate attempt to make them happen, but in a kind, loving embrace of your needs and wants.
As you nurture your loving kindness to yourself, you will create more energy for yourself which will naturally fan the flames of kindness and compassion to flourish and grow -creating an upward, energy giving spiral of positive emotions for everyone with whom you come in contact.

Mary Ann Copson, founder of Evenstar Mood & Energy Wellness Center for Women, is Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients better manage their moods and energy. www.evenstaronline.com; 434-263-4996.