Kindness toward yourself
***Mirror, Mirror Who Is the Kindest of Them All***
Do you find it difficult to be kind to yourself? What about toward other people?
If someone makes a mistake are you quick to help them feel better about it? What language do you use with that person? When you make a mistake, is the language you use towards yourself the same or different?
In my life, and in the lives of men I coach, I have found that we can be much harder on ourselves, say many more unkind things to ourselves, and have greater expectations on our own being than we generally would ever have toward someone else. Where does this come from?
My involvement with Men’s Work over the last 17 years, including my own, points to the inability to fully embrace and love the little boy inside us. When you or I can’t love and embrace our inner boy, it becomes much more difficult to love the man we see in the mirror each morning.
A healthy love of ourselves is essential in order to be kind to ourselves when we make a mistake, take a misstep, or sometimes just fuck something up royally. Loving ourselves begins with loving the child inside us.
Some weird perceptions about ourselves can develop when growing up. Do you believe that?
Maybe you had really bad acne and found it difficult to date in high school. What was the message you took away about yourself? As a man is it easy for you to love that acne faced kid, or do you try and distance yourself as far away from him as you can?
What happens today if someone says something critical about how you look, or how the things you possess look? What is the language you use toward yourself?
Were you a braniac in class, or the kid who barely passed tests? If you struggled, what is the message you carried away? When someone today may ask you, “Why didn’t you know that?” are you kind to yourself or do you chastise the little boy inside you?
Are you able to love that boy who struggled so much in school?
When I can love my little boy despite the “faults”, true or untrue, I believe he had, I can more easily embrace and love the man I see in the mirror. Showing myself love means being kind to myself when I make a mistake, when I don’t get it right, when I miss my goal.
What is the better path here, showing myself kindness and encouragement to help me succeed, or berate and belittle myself for not having done something right? Which energy will get me moving forward again in the shortest amount of time? Which energy helps me trust myself, be confident, and increase my odds to get it right the next time around?
My challenge for you is to tell that little boy inside you how much you love him, and how you as an adult man have his back. After you say that, and as you look in the mirror into the eyes of the man looking back at you, do you see how that man is worth all your love and kindness?
What challenges you most to love and be kind to yourself?
You may also like to read the first part – “Small Steps # 1”.
Kindness, Kindness, Kindness.