Being kind to ourselves can feel like an unnecessary indulgence. After all, if we drive ourselves harder, we’ll achieve more, won’t we? The chances are that if you’re a hard taskmaster on yourself, then you’re living a life that could be much happier, and those around you feel the negative pressure of your presence. Here are five reasons to be kinder to yourself.
- If you set standards that are too high for yourself, you’ll tend to do that with others too. The pressure you place on yourself will cause you to adopt an autocratic rather than coaching style of leadership – and that discourages others to take responsibility for the outcomes that you so desperately want to achieve.
- If you’re harsh and critical in the way in which you talk to yourself, then there will be that harsh edge when you talk to others. That will cause unnecessary strain and distance in your relationships. You’re effectively wearing emotional armour that screams ‘If you don’t meet my standards then I will reject you’. Who’s going to love a leader like that?
- Harshness lacks compassion, and compassion is the greatest connection tool I know. Without it, you will never truly connect with another human being. Without connection, there is no loyalty or enduring respect. People will work for a leader that they do not respect – but only because the hierarchical structure dictates that they must. Their heart just won’t be in it – because yours isn’t.
- Harshness is the enemy of gratitude. It steadfastly fails to recognise the multitude of things there are to be grateful for in ourselves, our environment and in others. Gratitude can make a tough time tolerable – it’s the friend of hope. If we are grateful, we tap in to something within ourselves that feels like optimism, and optimism makes us try harder and think more creatively. If we are not kind to ourselves then the harshness locks out gratitude and optimism, leaving them both standing on the other side of the problem that needs to be solved.
- Kindness is contagious. When we are kind, then we inspire others to be kind. If you’re not convinced of that, try looking at this