Try to understand how they feel.
Do not judge others.
Treat everyone with respect.
Agree. Agree. Agree. All great values to teach and share and incorporate into our daily interactions with the people we encounter each day. It doesn't cost a thing to be kind. Smiles are free. Kindness and compassion multiply when we express it. And what we put out there in world might actually come back to us in similar or enhanced ways. So, yeah. Let's be kind and nice and understanding to others.
So what about to ourselves? How often do we treat ourselves with as much kindness as we show to others? How often do we remember to be kind and compassionate - with ourselves?
It is just so easy to be hard on ourselves. We know what mistakes we have made, or repeated. We know about our past. We know what people have said to us during an argument. We know what we ate for dinner, what we think about a co-worker, and how many clothes in our closet still have tags. We know everything about us and that inevitably means we are aware of the things we don't like about ourselves. And for us, we find it particularly easy to be critical. We say terrible things to ourselves as if it doesn't matter. We beat ourselves up. And we don't even realize how this unkindness to self is harmful.
And we are not only critical of our actions and behaviors, we are extremely critical of our appearance, finding faults and flaws every time we sigh in front of the mirror. This sags. That is wrinkled. I'm too fat, thin, tall, short, old, freckled...you name it, we have stood in front of the mirror to critique it. Maybe that is why we are so bashful when a compliment comes our way. It's because we aren't ever used to hearing those kind words from ourselves and it catches us off-guard. So critical of self, yet kind and compassionate to the stranger. Something is definitely wrong.
Let's all admit we make mistakes, sometimes with regularity. We are human and no more or less perfect than anyone else. Forgive the errors in judgement, the sharp words or the irrational behavior. Forgive and move on. And not all of our lack of self-kindness is related to mistakes made. Many of us persistently live in a place of disliking something about our outward appearance. Daily affirmations of self-loathing and dislike we carry out into the world each day seem totally normal and appropriate. But they are not.
We try not to pass judgement on what others wear or weigh or look like, yet we readily, negatively judge ourselves. Seems like a guarantee that others will see you as YOU see you, and treat you accordingly, with judgement and disdain. We don't just want to treat others the way we want to be treated - we want to treat OURSELVES the way we want to be treated. No one makes you feel less than or not worthy without your permission. Aren't we giving others permission to abuse us when we fail to extend basic kindness to ourselves?
Extending kindness to ourselves is probably not popular. I think many would mistake it for being "self-centered" or potentially "conceited". But self-kindness is neither of these things. To be self-centered one would have to only care about themselves. Self-kindness is about caring about yourself and others equally. And conceit is such an elevated view of self that you fail to see your own foibles, or you believe them to be better than anyone else's. Self-kindness is acknowledging your flaws as part of you, rarely different than others, and loving you anyway.
There is no excuse to forget to be kind to ourselves. It takes no time. It takes no money. It might take effort initially, to look more closely at our inherent biases about ourselves and current circumstances, but that is a worthy journey. Seeking a better understanding of who we are, what we care most about, what we want more of in our lives and what we need emotionally in order to be happy is all part of being kind to ourselves. And no one else is going to do it for us. Being kind to self should be a priority. Respecting your body, your thoughts, your accomplishments and your efforts. Finding forgiveness from within for your errors or missed opportunities. Showing compassion for your challenges and past experiences that have brought you this far. Being less judgmental about your physical appearance.
Be nice to yourself. Be kind with yourself. Set an example that others will have to follow when they meet you.