We can try and find happiness on the outside, we can buy nice things, we can surround ourselves with wonderful people. We can work out every day to get the best body and spend fortunes on lotions and potions to make us look pretty.
None of this matters if our thoughts on the inside are critical. If we don’t like who we are. A thousand people can tell us we’re beautiful and brilliant and for a while it feels good but it’s like putting a plaster over a shark bite. Eventually our own thoughts will creep in and undo it all.
We’re born needing love and kindness, if an infant isn’t shown any it won’t develop, it will grow up mentally damaged. We’re also not born thinking negative things, our concept of self is developed over time and consists a lot of what we’re told by other people.
So here we are all grown up yet we still carry round both our insecure child and our critical parent. Chances are your inner voice is critical, harsh, always giving yourself a hard time. You know what else you have inside you though? A nurturing side. The side of you that speaks kindly to friends, your children or family when they need you.
You have the ability to use that kindness on yourself. To speak kind words when you look in the mirror. To give yourself credit for the things you are doing good.
Think about when you are learning something new and you’re getting stuck. Which would be more helpful, someone coming over and yelling at you, telling you you’re useless, pointing out everything you are doing wrong? Or someone coming over and speaking kindly to you, pointing out what you’re doing right already and how you can build on that. When spoken to in that way, we thrive, we want to improve because we know we can, we step forward with confidence and a big smile on our faces, knowing if we fall we can just get back up again.
Kindness is the way to happiness. As adults we have choices that we didn’t have as a kid, we can choose to have Ice-cream for breakfast, choose to stay up as late as we want, choose to pop to the shops in our jammas (to buy more Ice-cream). We can also choose what we think, imagine that! Our thoughts are in our control, when we look in the mirror it is our choice to speak words of kindness to ourselves or give ourselves a hard time. Our choice.
Yet it can feel weird to say nice things to ourselves, another voice pops in going “That’s a load of rubbish you’re worthless” “Stop being so conceited” This is because we’ve programmed our brains to think the negative automatically. We might not have been bought up to praise ourselves, to love ourselves.
Today though, TODAY, you can undo that. You can rewire your brain, you can choose to be kind yourself. Those negative critical thoughts are still gonna creep back in, and your first reaction might be to get cross with yourself, frustrated that it’s not working. Well all that does is put you back in a negative cycle again.
It’s gonna take baby steps, learning to love yourself, learning to be kind to yourself. Start off small, find a teeny thing to love when you look in the mirror. Praise yourself for the smallest thing when you go to bed at night. Like everything in life, thoughts grow when we feed them. So the more you look at the positive, the more you focus on the good about yourself, the more this will grow.
Be your own kind friend, your own patient teacher, your own nurturing parent. Inner kindness is the key to happiness and it really is in your control.