Self-Kindness is Different than Self-Care


Being kind to yourself isn’t the same as self-care. People often mix them up, so today, I’d like to talk about the difference. Kindness to self means thinking, speaking and acting towards yourself in ways that help you have a positive and outcome. Kindness to self means that in the same way you would empathize with others (put yourself in their shoes to see and feel things from their perspective), and then use your feelings of compassion (the desire to alleviate the suffering you see they are going through) to choose an action that would help that other person, you do the same for yourself.


Like being kind to others, kindness to self is a set of skills that each of us can practice. Today, here are some ways you can practice thinking more kindly about yourself:

  1. Often we have a little tape loop playing unkind thoughts about ourselves over and over in our minds. As soon as you become conscious that is happening, write down the situation and the thoughts. That will break the thought pattern and make it conscious and visible.

  2. Next, beside the unkind thought, write a kind one: something you would tell another person who was thinking that way. Writing down a different, kind thought, will start to create a new neural pathway!

  3. Avoid the situation in which you were thinking the unkind thoughts about yourself! And if you can’t, then keep your piece of paper in your pocket and read the kind replacement thoughts at least three times before you’re in it.

The more we practice thinking kindly about ourselves, the more likely the words we speak about ourselves and the way we treat ourselves will become kinder as well! Self-kindness is definitely a practice that we can get better at through practice!


Please let me know how your practice goes! And if you have questions, or need help, please reach out: karyn@kindleadership.org

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