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How to Be Kinder to Yourself: How to Show More Kindness to Yourself

If there is one generalization we can hazard of those who end up mentally unwell, we could say that they are masters at being very nasty to themselves without noticing they are even being so.

Therefore, it has to start with a growing awareness of what we are doing to ourselves and what the alternatives might be.

For example, we might start to notice that no sooner has something nice happened to us that we set about wondering when something awful will strike in revenge; every success has to be ruined by a feeling of foreboding and guilt; every potentially pleasant day ends up marred by panic or a sense of loss; and that we spontaneously imagine that everyone must hate us and that the worst things are being said about us the moment we leave any room.

None of this looks, on the surface, like self-hatred.

We could just say that we have a worried mind or a regretful temperament, but it is useful to group these ideas under a singular title in order to fully identify the direction in which they point towards the systematic destruction of any pleasure in being ourselves, which is, when we think about it, a very nasty thing indeed to do to someone without realizing it. We are committed to throttling all of our chances at contentment at the earliest possible opportunity.

We might imagine it as an experiment, trying to be as kind as possible towards our own minds rather than dragging in each last deformed and mean idea into the theatre of consciousness..

We could dare to be vigilant about only presenting our minds with the very kindest and most reassuring ideas. The moment we leave a room, we might be ruthless in preventing thoughts about our unacceptability from manifest

There are all sorts of reasons why it should be so. But for once, we could give them a firm no. If they kept trying to make their way into our minds, we might put on a piece of music or do some gardening.
Anything other than allowing destructive concepts to have their normal rule over us.

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Where does this unconscious impulse to be unkind to ourselves come from? How is the choice to torture ourselves made?

We can hazard another generalization. The way we treat ourselves is an internalization of the way others once treated us, either directly in the sense of how they spoke to us or indirectly in the sense of how they behaved around us, which could have included ignoring us or openly displaying a preference for someone else.

Where does this unconscious impulse to be unkind to ourselves come from? How is the choice to torture ourselves made? We can hazard another generalization. The way we treat ourselves is an internalization of the way others once treated us, either directly in the sense of how they spoke to us or indirectly in the sense of how they behaved around us, which could have included ignoring us or openly displaying a preference for someone else.

To get a measure of where we stand on the spectrum of self-love, we need only ask ourselves a very simple question that we have nevertheless ignored for far too long.

How much do I like myself?
If the answer immediately comes back that we feel loathsome, there is a history that we urgently need to consider and is convenient for our self-torturing minds. Choosing to ignore the contempt we habitually show ourselves is in neither way fair nor right.

We should spot the oddity and partiality of treating ourselves with a viciousness we wouldn't accord to our worst enemies.
People who commit suicide aren't those for whom a few things have gone very wrong. They are people who have encountered some otherwise survivable reversals against a background of fierce self-hatred. It is their self-hatred that will end up killing them, not the apparent subjects of their panic and sorrow.

As ever, salvation comes through self-awareness. There is nothing inevitable about self-hatred. We are treating ourselves unkindly because people were, in the past, not especially kind to us. And we are touchingly but dangerously loyal to their derision philosophies.

But if we are to stay alive, we need to radically redraw our moral code and return to kindness the prestige that it should always have had. We have learned far too much about a lack of mercy, panic, self-suspicion, and finding oneself pitiful. Now we need to rediscover the virtues of forgiveness, mercy, calmness, and gentleness.

And when we panic and feel intensely anxious about the future, we need to remember that we are, in essence, worrying about our fundamental legitimacy.
And lovability Our survival depends on a swift mastery of the art of self-compassion.

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