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Tiny Wisdom: Be Good to Yourself

“Be gentle first with yourself if you wish to be gentle with others.” -Lama Yeshe

All too often we’re unforgiving and cruel to ourselves in a way we’d never treat our friends.

We’d never look a friend in the eyes and tell her she’s not good enough. We’d never beat a friend up over one mistake he made years ago. We’d never expect a friend to move mountains when she’s exhausted and clearly needs a rest.

Why do we sometimes do these things to ourselves?

So often when we think about self-love, we think about the big picture—forgiving ourselves for past mistakes and accepting ourselves, imperfections and all.

But in much the same way we show love in relationships through tiny acts of appreciation and consideration, we can love ourselves through small, maybe even random acts of kindness.

For me, that means allowing myself to relax if I need to, even if I feel like I should be productive. It means treating myself to a nice lunch every now and then, even if I feel I should save money. It means responding to negative thoughts in my head with the same uplifting advice I’d give my sister.

Sometimes it also means seeing in the mirror that little girl who I used to be—the little girl who always did her best and wanted nothing more than to have someone hug her and tell her it was good enough. It’s my job to do that now.

It’s all of our jobs.

Today, give yourself the consideration and kindness you’d extend to the people you love. If you’re dissatisfied with your progress, remind yourself of all you’ve accomplished. If you made a mistake, cut yourself from slack. If you’re tired, take it easy.

All the goodness you put out into the world starts with how you treat yourself.

Photo by AlicePopkorn

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha's Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

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  • Wordcharmer

    Why are we so much harder on ourselves than everyone else?

  • Linda Loeffler Hays

    Kindness to self opens the door to be kind to others.

  • I wrote a post on this exact topic on my blog just yesterday. I swear we’re sharing the same brain. 

  • Jaimehonaker

    Two words: Thank You.

  • Johanne mcguigan

    That’s was lovely. And true!

  • Rebecca

    I love this! Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  • I recently heard someone talk about loving yourself in terms of loving the ‘bad’ parts of ourselves, the parts we’re scared to face. I think there’s probably some truth in that …

  • Tigerlilidawn

    Very hard to do.. when times get hard .. but is the best thing to do ..

  • Th

    I find this very difficult but definetly something i am working on.

  • Geekgyrl36

    Thank You!

    I was thinking the exact same thing this morning and decided even though I should be frugal with money now, I really wanted to decorate both my son and my bedroom. I went to my favourite place, IKEA and enjoyed myself and am now basking in comfort as I type and I haven’t seen my son for a bit because he’s loving his room.

    I’m learning each day how to be extra kind, loving and patient with myself 🙂

  • That’s a great question. I suspect it’s because we internalize our pain and take it out on ourselves, without always recognizing what we’re doing.

  • Great post Madison! I loved the last line. It’s so true!

  • You’re most welcome. =)

  • You’re welcome Rebecca!

  • You’re most welcome! That’s awesome you re-did both of your rooms. I remember when I moved into my last apartment, I skimped on all kinds of things, and that really affected the feel of my environment. I work from home, so splurging on a few nice things is totally worth it!

    This time when I moved, I bought a nice bathroom set with a matching trash barrel, soap dispenser, and tooth brush holder, and I’m so glad I did it. I’m in there every day–why not make it look nice if I have the means!

  • There was actually a post on here about that same idea last week–the idea of loving our “shadows”:

    http://tinybuddha.com/blog/how-to-come-home-to-yourself/

    I found this post so insightful and helpful!

  • Tobias Michel

    Thank you, great reminder. It just fits to my thoughts this morning.

  • candidmaisonave

    Lori! Thank you 🙂

  • You’re welcome! =)

  • You’re most welcome Tobias! I’m glad it helped. =)

  • Bradytlonghurst

    It is very commendable but these nice souls have no idea.

  • Pingback: Be Good to Yourself | The Storyteller's Garden()

  • Anuj

    I think we expect a lot from ourselves and when those expectations are not fulfilled (may be we hadn’t worked harder), we get angry with ourselves.

  • Kristi Tanner

    I started practicing yoga a year ago, and just recently got back from a life changing yoga retreat with some really amazing teachers.  One of them recommended I read this blog.  

    This was the first post I got sent to my email, and it was so perfect.  I felt like God had you share these thoughts just for me!  I’m  a fabulous friend, confidant, and listener, but have a hard time feeling self worth.  I base it almost solely on other peoples opinions of my character, my appearance, etc.  I read this just as I got home from my first session with a psychologist (I’ve started on a path to better myself!) and it was exactly what we discussed. I have to treat myself like I treat everyone else.

    If this isn’t good karma and a sign of positive change, I dont know what is.  Thank you for these inspirational words!

  • You’re most welcome! Congrats on starting on this new path. I’m a long-time yoga lover, because it’s helped me quite a bit with my negative self-talk. I still have to work at it sometimes, but having a contemplative practice helps a great deal!

  • Naomi

    I love the paragraph: 
    Sometimes it also means seeing in the mirror that little girl who I used to be—the little girl who always did her best and wanted nothing to more than to have someone hug her and tell her it was good enough. It’s my job to do that now. …
     I am still waiting to be good enough for everyone else and pleasing others

  • Lori

    I understand Naomi. I still have people-pleasing tendencies at times. It’s not an easy habit to break. I’m sending good thoughts your way!