Be Gentle with Yourself

lion licking foot I’m startled sometimes by the harsh words that people use when talking about themselves. These are people who I know would not speak that way to another person, but they feel completely comfortable using words of disgust, hatred, and criticism towards themselves. When speaking of another person they often find a good side to that person’s personality or behavior, but when they speak of themselves extreme criticism is the norm.

To these people, I say, “Be gentle with yourself.” Imagine you’re a small child, just learning your way in the world, you deserve kindness and caring. You deserve to feel good about yourself. As you are kind with others, be kind to yourself.

Why is that we find it difficult at times to be kind to ourselves? Do we hold ourselves to such unattainable high standards and therefore measure ourselves as failing to meet those standards? Do we lack humor and gentleness and don’t know how to apply these in our life?

As I’ve reflected on this statement, “Be gentle with yourself,” I have become more and more aware of a lack of gentleness in our society. As we work aggressively toward deadlines, drive our point home, and push to be first — we leave behind gentle words, a kind touch, an astute observation, and a listening ear.

One way we can practice being gentle with ourselves is by doing self-Reiki. This practice is the cornerstone of a Reiki level 1 class. Daily self-Reiki is a way to connect with our higher selves, a way to delve into our human experience, and a way to connection with the best that is within us. By practicing self-Reiki we are engaged in daily self-care which can be a foundation for being gentle with oneself.

What are your experiences with being gentle with yourself? Has there been a time in your life when you were highly self-critical? What brought that on? How did you work with it? What self-care practices do you use? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Wishing you the light and gentleness of the universe.

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