Sometimes we choose change. Sometimes change chooses us. Whichever your experience right now, what matters is your belief in your own strength and spirit on this endless journey of self-discovery
Being kind to yourself isn’t a neat 30-day program. It’s a lifelong commitment. We don’t ever arrive, we continue to discover ourselves along the way and forever hold the responsibility to take care of ourselves as we unfold.
With the privilege of age comes a sense of learning about yourself. If you allow them, the seasons of change and growth will unwrap your layers, so you may know yourself a little more with every experience. By staying open and willing, curious and gentle with yourself, living becomes a conscious process of gathering wisdom about your authentic nature. This wisdom feeds the roots of your self-acceptance. It helps you offer yourself forgiveness, and it reminds you that you can trust yourself.
While there are no hard and fast instructions for learning about yourself – please don’t get caught up in the ‘right way’, because there isn’t one – you can help the process along by paying attention. Pay attention to what hurts you, what nourishes you, what ignites you, what frustrates you, what relaxes you, what makes you uneasy, what you wouldn’t do again but couldn’t have learned another way. Pay attention to it all and, as you do, give yourself room to move, try it on and figure out what fits. Your growth is a gift – don’t criticise, humiliate or otherwise dishonour yourself through the process.
HERE ARE A FEW NOTES FOR YOUR POCKETS ON YOUR JOURNEY
- If you buy into society’s standards or rules about what makes someone enough, you’ll always consider yourself to be lacking.
- Your boundaries are your responsibility. You’re allowed to place them where they fit for you, enforce them as you need to and adjust them as you learn more about yourself.
- Devote time to reflecting on what you’re doing well, what you’ve done well and what you’ll do well in the future. More time than you spend thinking about your mistakes.
- Your relationship with yourself is more important than your relationship with anyone else (including your partner and your children) because it defines every other relationship in your life.
- The people who love you depend on you to love yourself, so that your love for each other can be free.
- What you say no to determines what you have room to say yes to.
- When you speak about yourself, remember that you are listening. When you speak to yourself, remember that you are listening. Always.
- Forgiveness is freedom. The more forgiveness you offer yourself, the freer your experience of life will be.
- The more forgiving you are with yourself, the more generous you will be in your relationships with others.
- You will stuff up. We all do. You are human. You are okay.
- Don’t apply hindsight to your younger self. It’s entirely unfair to punish yourself for what you didn’t know then.
- The criticisms you’ve received in the past can very easily become a believable collective voice that condemns you, without realising that you’re being driven by a faceless captor with no control over you.
- The signs of ageing on your face and your skin are markers of the privilege of continuing life. Be grateful to yourself for still being here. You’ve made it this far!
This is an edited extract of The Art of Self-Kindness by Rebecca Ray, Macmillan Australia, RRP $19.99, available in all good bookstores.