Self compassion. Self love. Friend to self.

When I was growing up, and Becoming Adult, the thing which was emphasised was self-esteem – perceiving yourself in a positive way. Cultivate self-esteem. Nurture self-esteem. Know that you are a good person and you can be successful. Our parents read books on the stuff, and we were encouraged to believe we could be the best person we could be.

Lately, I have been thinking about self-love, instead of self-esteem. How you perceive yourself is important. But how your treat yourself and how you talk to yourself will directly affect your experience of the world.

How do you talk to yourself?

If you have ever watched a Woody Allen film, like Annie Hall, you will remember the endless mind chatter that goes on in the main character’s head. Negative verbal diarrhoea. Many of us have it. I am not good enough. I am a failure. I am not worthy of love. I did something wrong. I upset someone…

Until recent years, my mind was a train park of irrational, destructive thoughts. All About Me. I suck. I am not worthy. Nobody loves me. The chatter was relentless. Some days I would slap the sides of my head to make it go away.

I was no friend to me.

I read an article this week in Scientific American Mind about self compassion. The article talks about the importance of self-compassion…for health, longevity, for surviving hardships and dealing with crises. Self compassion is self-love. It is treating yourself as you would a friend.

How do you treat your friends? Do you tell them they suck? They are failures? They are not worthy of love? That nobody loves them?

No…I didn’t think so. I can’t imagine anyone who reads this blog saying this to someone they know. And yet so many of us say these things to ourselves.

We also say: I am a bad mother. I am horrible to my children. I am a bad wife or a bad partner. Again, these a things we wouldn’t say to our friends. We wouldn’t think them.

I believe that self compassion is the road to love. If we practice talking to ourselves with kindness and love, we will turn that love and kindness to others. Our husbands, our partners, our children, our friends, our family.

It works both ways. If we talk kindly to others – our children, our partners, our friends and family – we feel good in ourselves and our kindness is internalised. We feel kind towards ourselves.

Self compassion and self nourishment isn’t necessarily about getting a massage or a pedicure, although these things may help. We can nourish ourselves simply by accepting who we are. Taking the reins off, and giving ourselves a break. We can sit down with ourselves, have a cup of tea, hear about our day, and feel warmth towards ourselves…in the way we do with a friend.

I hope all of you beautiful mamas and readers of this blog will find it in your hearts to be kind to yourselves. Befriend yourselves. Give yourselves a hug.

Nourishing You is the beginning of nourishing your children. Here at Heart Mama, I hope for children around the world to be nourished with love, tenderness and sunshine. Hugging yourself is a great place to start.

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