Last Updated on February 19, 2024 by Angela Vaz

I have been a perfectionist for most of my life.

In many ways, I appreciated the strict regime I set for myself because it led me to succeed and hit many goals.

But beneath all those achievements – I know it affected my mental health greatly.

I never felt like I was enough.

I’d push the bar further and further away just to see how far I could really go.

It didn’t matter if it was reading over 75-100 books a year, writing 1000 blog posts, or running five websites simultaneously; I’d keep pushing, believing I could do better.

My mental health finally improved when I started being kind to myself – when that voice inside of me sounded compassionate rather than bossy and mean.

And from always belittling myself, that voice is now kind, understanding, and extremely gentle.

Taking this turn and seeing how much my life has improved has urged me to write this post.

I’ve walked in your shoes – I’ve been that girl with those negative voices constantly criticizing and complaining about everything.

And I can finally say that 90% of the time, that voice is now kind.

Of course, sometimes, it still gives me heat – but I catch myself, rewind, and correct that tone.

I’ve watched it change from “How could you mess everything up? You knew how to do this; you’ve practiced.” to “It’s okay, mistakes happen – you’re having a bad day, and this is alright, you can come back from this… I know you can.”

I’ll talk about how you can use mindfulness so that you can slow down and shift your thinking patterns completely.

Let’s begin.

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Why is it important to be kind to yourself?

why is it important to be kind to yourself

Your successes and your popularity don’t mean much if you’re going through mental torture.

Just because you are extremely well-functioning on the outside doesn’t mean that this is a viable method in the long term.


Because, at the end of the day, we cannot control everything.

There will always be pain, suffering, and chaos – that’s our world.

We will inevitably fail – our lives cannot go uphill forever.

There will be dips – and when those happen, we need to be able to take it in our stride and keep going.

What we can control is our ability to react to chaos.

And if we are kind to ourselves, we can actually salvage the situation and make the best of it.

That’s how we improve our emotional well-being, and this is how we become stronger.

Some of the many benefits of being positive and kind to yourself are:

  • Improved mental health – Your anxiety and stress will be reduced because you are less likely to criticize yourself.
  • Increased resilience: Being kind to yourself helps you cope with setbacks, failures, and disappointments.
  • Better relationships: When you treat yourself compassionately, you’re more likely to extend it outwards, leading to deeper relationships with people.
  • Increased motivation and productivity: Because you’re constantly encouraging yourself and seeing the positives, you are more likely to stay motivated and actually see your goals through!
  • Greater sense of peace and satisfaction: One of the biggest pros of being kind and patient with yourself is finding inner peace and satisfaction – you will stop chasing superficial goals and will actually be content with your life. You will stop running – and trust me, it doesn’t get better than that.

So now that you understand the pros of being kind to yourself let’s look at how we can actually achieve that.

7 Simple Ways to Be Kind to Yourself and Stop Negative Self-Talk

1. Listen to yourself

In the beginning, I just want you to become aware of your thoughts.

Listen to them – really listen.

Everytime you talk to yourself – note the tone you are using.

  • Is that a tone you would use with a loved one or a child or a pet?
  • Is that how you would talk to someone you really cared about?

I need you to understand that life is hard.

And we are always going to have heavy emotions that are difficult to process.

So do not quieten your thoughts – listen.

Note how it sounds.

  • Is it extremely negative?
  • Does it sound angry?
  • Does it sound horrible?

Just listen – and be there for yourself.

Don’t judge – just observe.

This is the first step to mindfulness.

2. Reframe every single negative thought you have

reframe negative thoughts

Now that you’ve identified the thoughts and how they sound – I want you to turn it around.

I want you to, quite literally – turn those thoughts around.

Let me show you:

Negative thought: Nobody loves me.

Turnaround: I am worthy of love and care. Perhaps I’ve met some hurt people who couldn’t give them to me, but I haven’t met everyone. I’m going to learn how to draw healthy boundaries, and I’m going to hang out with people who are more like me so that I can find people who vibe with me and enjoy the same things I do.

Negative thought: He was the love of my life – I’ll be alone forever now that I’m single.

Turnaround: I never thought I’d find love before I met him and I did. If I could find that, what’s stopping me from finding another? There are so many good people in this world, and I have so much to live for. I am not going to give up – just like how I want to be loved, I know that so many others have the same desire and feeling. I will be more proactive and open my heart and mind to new experiences.

Negative thought: I’ll never be happy

Turnaround: I cannot predict the future – all I know is the past. Happiness exists, and I deserve to experience it. I will focus on the present moment, be grateful for what I have, and do more things that bring me joy and fulfillment. And if I still cannot do this, I will seek support from professionals and my loved ones. But I will do this.

It takes practice – you may not be able to do it in 1 day. It takes time to change your thinking, so be patient.

But I want you to continue challenging your negative thoughts with positive affirmations.

3. Do things that bring you joy

No matter how pessimistic you are, you can do many things to be kind to yourself.

I want you to slow down – note how you care for yourself right now.

Do you:

  • Give yourself little moments in the day to relax and breathe?
  • Do things like reading, knitting, boxing, playing music, drawing, writing, or dancing (even if it’s just for 30 minutes) a day?
  • Talk to friends and family at least once a week?
  • Take your dogs for a walk or stroke your cat for a few minutes a day?

These are all ways you can actually show yourself that you matter – that you’re important.

Believe it or not, all these little things help your emotional health improve.

4. Journal

I’ve been journaling since I was a child.

And sometimes, when I go through the past few months of entries, I can clearly see my mistakes and how much I’ve grown since then.

Journaling provides you with perspective.

It gives you clarity.

Write down your thoughts and emotions in your journal – don’t hinder yourself.

And please don’t use pretty books you’re afraid to write in – get yourself an ugly notebook so that you can be honest.

You’re doing this for you – you don’t need to pretty it.

Journaling will help you pinpoint your triggers and patterns, which will make you wiser and help you become better at coping with them.

5. What are you grateful for?

be grateful

Doing this small exercise every day helps you see things differently.

It can be very easy to look at the 10% of your life’s mess and assume that your life is a lost cause.

I’m guilty of doing this.

But I want you to write down what you feel grateful for daily.

It can be small things:

  • My cup of chai
  • The way my dogs looked into my eyes this morning
  • Reading a book by someone who has the same anxiety as me.
  • Remembering my mom’s cooking and how inspired I feel to recreate that dish

Yes, you can even be grateful for your thoughts!

6. Avoid social media

do not go on social media

I need you to know that sh*t happens to everyone.

And people don’t like broadcasting their sadness.

Most people make a living from their products/businesses – so they need to create a good image to get people to buy from them.

Nobody is 100% happy.

Everybody has worries; everybody has horrible things happening to them. But they don’t talk about it 24/7.

You get to see a 5-second glimpse of their entire day.

So, no, we don’t know the whole story.

If looking at social media brings you down because you’re constantly comparing yourself to others – stop it.

Nip it in the bud.

Edit your schedule, or just uninstall the damn app.

Your mental health is more important.

Do a hobby you love instead!

Spend more time with your family and friends.

Eat right or exercise.

Do something that you know will bring you more joy!

7. Consult a therapist

consult a therapist

Seeking therapy isn’t a sign of weakness – more so the opposite.

It’s a sign that you want to get better and want to start living life.

A therapist will give you tools to develop coping mechanisms and strategies to stop talking harshly to yourself.

At the same time, they may even be able to dig up why you’re feeling this way – maybe there is a root cause and knowing that will change your perspective.

Seek help – if nothing else works.

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Angela is a 31 year old Illustrator and Blogger living with her 2 adorable labradors in Bangalore, India. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Relationships from the University of Toronto. When she's not writing her heart out or drawing, you'll find her sipping chai and reading non-fiction books.

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