You Can Be Kind To Yourself

You Can Be Kind To Yourself

You have no qualms about buying a meal for others, or accompanying them to places of interest. You tell them everything will be ok when they panic or get anxious. You also remind them to take deep breaths and focus on their needs at that moment. People tell you that you are a kind person. They feel lucky and grateful for what you have done for them. Do you also feel lucky and grateful for you? Are you kind to yourself?

Perhaps some of us are indeed our harshest critic1 or we simply find it easier to criticise ourselves with the notion that we should always do better. When we criticise ourselves first, it can also act as a cushion in case others criticise us as well. Being harsher to ourselves may make some of us feel we should adopt a higher standard for or of our selves as we find it hard to accept that we make mistakes. If you are a perfectionist, you may be your worst critic and struggle to even imagine compassion for yourself.

Being able to be kind to your self is as important as drinking water and breathing air. When you are kind to your self, it can better your self-esteem, balance stress, engage in healthier activities, among many other benefits. Being kind enhances neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine as you feel satisfied and an overall improved sense of well-being.

Having self-compassion matters because it can actually help us to work with others better and develop resilience to handle what life may throw us. The four components1 of self-compassion are related to how a tone of kindness is applied, the ability to acknowledge human pain as essential, adopting an objective and neutral view towards negative emotions, and anticipating decisions are often the best in the moment they are made.

Being kind to both yourself and others does require conscious efforts and love for life as the acts of kindness exudes positivity2, simplicity, free-ness (generosity, giving, complimentary) and health. When you are kind to others, you do things for them willingly and out of goodwill. For example, you may see a person trying to get a taxi frantically as they seem to be in a hurry to get somewhere whereas you are able to get a taxi though you could afford to wait for the next one and so you motion for the other person to take your taxi instead while you wait for the next one. In doing this act of kindness, you demonstrated an ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and extend help to them as you sense what would be the most useful for them in that moment.

On another occasion, you set a goal to be able to get up early every morning and go jogging but one morning you just woke up later than intended, which meant you missed your goal to jog daily. Being kind to yourself here can be the way you acknowledge what has happened and perhaps why it did, or simply telling yourself that it is ok, and that you will try to get back on track the following morning instead of cursing at yourself for what you did not manage to do.


Case (*names have been changed to protect the identities of individuals)

Joaquin gets tight-lipped when he is asked about his strengths. He does not think she has any strengths and even if he does, he does not think they are worth mentioning as there are many people who are much better than him in many ways. Joaquin feels he is where he is today either due to pure luck or coincidence. When asked about the strengths of others, he is quick to point them out and can even provide examples for some. For example, Joaquin feels his best friend Audrey is brilliant in coming up with feasible ideas for decorating houses and the results are remarkable. Audrey has tried to encourage Joaquin to showcase his talents such as making tasty hamburgers but Joaquin downplays this by saying he feels bad for serving anyone food that he makes as he is convinced that they are forcing themselves to digest the food that he serves them. 

If you resonate with Joaquin, you may be struggling to recognise and acknowledge good things about you. You may even reject or resist others’ compliments and find it hard to accept anything that sounds positive about you. Recognising and accepting your flaws is what you are more familiar with, but, take a moment to think about this: You can only see your flaws if you are able to see your strengths. This means, your flaws may not be flaws if you cannot differentiate them from your “non-flaws”. For example, if you feel you are bad in writing holiday wishes, how would you know so? You must have written several times and either evaluated the way they were written based on some criteria, or received feedback based on some form of checklist. Basing your evaluation on your gut feel or “just the way it feels” may not give you the consistency and accuracy of the evaluation.

So what can you do now to be kinder to yourself and others? Try out the following and reflect on how they make you feel:

  • Ask yourself how you’d like to take care3 of yourself and others
  • Identify your healthy boundaries
  • Recognise your approach in presenting your kind acts and behaviours
  • Authenticate your thoughts and behaviours
  • Come from a position of love, respect, compassion, friendliness and other good values


There are many more that you can do to build the trait of kindness within yourself and experience a life-transforming experience. Start with the above items or create your own and share with your family and friends so you can hone your actions further. Kindness breeds with and within communities.



  1. Boyes, A. (2021). Be kinder to yourself. Retrieved from
  2. Siegle, S. (2020). The art of kindness. Retrieved from
  3. Hanson, R. (2014). Just one thing: Be kind to yourself by being kind to others. Retrieved from
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