YOU matter … be kind to yourself

YOU matter … be kind to yourself

I have a dear friend who is truly WONDERFUL. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love this amazing woman … except for, perhaps, herself.

And that KILLS me.

She loves her husband and her children—their pain is her pain. Their joy is hers, too. She volunteers at school, even though she has a thousand other things she could be doing. She creates fantastic memories for her family by organizing trips and playdates and sleepovers. She’s hilarious (and should probably have her own blog). She puts people at ease with her friendly personality. She has a HUGE heart.

Okay. Her house is not the cleanest one in the neighborhood, but in the grand scheme of things, how important is a picture-perfect house? What’s that phrase? Dirty kitchen, happy kids? Here’s an even better one: Happy mom, happy kids.

We need to be kind to ourselves. Heaven knows, there are enough people in this world who won’t treat you (or anyone else) with the dignity and respect that every human being deserves.

1. FORGIVE yourself.

We all make mistakes. Personally, I seem to make the same mistakes over and over again. How many times have I vowed not to overschedule myself and take on too much? More times than I care to admit.

Sew costumes for the play, even though I’m working more than full time, shuttling three kids to every afterschool activity, supervising homework, cleaning my house, and feeding my family …? Sure! I can do that!

No, wait, I really can’t. Not without becoming a raving lunatic, that is. And “lunatic” is not the image I’m striving for.

It’s okay. We’re HUMAN. I forgave myself and learned. Do I still take on too much? Sometimes. But I’m getting better.

2. DON’T COMPARE yourself to anyone else.

In this age of social media where everyone posts snapshots of the restaurant-worthy meals they cooked, the blissful family vacation they took, the straight As their kids got—it’s easy to get discouraged. Believe me, I know. I avoided Facebook for close to two years because logging on depressed me.

Sometimes I feel like social media can become an adult version of a high school popularity contest—IF you let it become one. So-and-so has over 400 friends. I have 130. So what?! And who cares how many likes your post got? Post what you’re passionate about and don’t worry about who likes it. And, if social media really bothers you, take a break. Restore your soul and your identity. Then, when you’re stronger, return to the arena.

The only person you need to compare yourself with is YOU. Try to become a better person today than you were yesterday. And if you don’t succeed, forgive yourself and try again tomorrow.

3. SMALL STEPS. If there’s something you really want to change about yourself, set achievable goals. “I am going to lose all the weight I gained over the holidays in one week.” Definitely not achievable or healthy. (Trust me, I might have some experience with that one. #failednewyearsresolutions.)

4. Focus on the POSITIVE. Okay. For all you older Saturday Night Live fans, this one reminds me of Stuart Smalley. “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and—doggone it—people like me.” His character was meant to be satirical, but daily affirmations are actually a helpful thing. You don’t need to talk to yourself in the mirror, though, unless that’s something that really help you. If it does, go for it, but be prepared to explain what you’re doing to your family or roommate!

Instead of beating yourself up for what you can’t do, or what you can’t do well, think about what you CAN do. And be HONEST with yourself—give yourself some credit. We all have our different strengths. I can clean my house like a pro (although I don’t always do), while my dear friend can fix any household appliance. In fact, she saved me thousands of dollars by helping me replace the bearings in my old washing machine instead of buying a new one. (My kitchen looked like a warzone until we finished, but think of all the money I saved!) Strengths—we all have them, just not necessarily the same ones.

So, my friend, until we talk again—be kind to yourself.

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