Be kind to yourself.
How often do we see stuff like this on social media? Perhaps we’ve heard words like these from a well-meaning friend when we’re struggling. Maybe we’ve said them ourselves to try to encourage people we care about.
I know I have.
Yes, we should all be kind to ourselves, love ourselves and be ourselves.
It’s good advice.
It’s great advice.
But for many it’s just not that simple.
For some us, because of our experiences and the beliefs we hold as a result, advice like this can feel trite and hollow.
How can you be kind to yourself if you think your needs are immaterial?
How can you love yourself if you feel worthless?
How can you be yourself if you believe you’re not good enough?
While we may desperately want to, we can’t get there.
Because there’s something in the way.
The road to self-acceptance and liberation can feel like trying to roll a heavy boulder up a hill in a rainstorm. The harder we push, the more our saturated shoes sink deeper into the sticky mud.
And that’s where the work is.
Not in forcing ourselves to love and care about ourselves – but in understanding why that’s so damn difficult.
The work is in the mud, the rain and the struggle.
Where life is messy, confusing and difficult.
But with the challenge of exploring what’s in the way comes the possibility of finally meeting ourselves – of discovering that, perhaps, the picture we’ve been given of ourselves doesn’t match who we truly are.
There’s no shame in the struggle and we’re not alone in it by any means.
Let’s not add to our pain by feeling bad because we don’t feel good about ourselves.
Instead, let’s do the work and reflect on our unique roadblocks to happiness.
We can’t force ourselves to be kind to ourselves, to love ourselves and to be ourselves.
But we can work out what’s in the way.