7 EXCEPTIONALLY EASY WAYS TO BE NICER TO YOURSELF
Being “nice” is something we are taught as soon as we can learn. The amount of times we hear “be nice to others” by the time we are two is, well, a lot, believe me, being the mom of an almost-three-year-old I’m in this phase right now. I have said some variant of this phrase upwards of a half-dozen times, per day. It’s drilled into us, and that’s a good thing, because we should be nice to others. And, most of the time, we learn how to do this pretty well and carry the lesson with us into adulthood. I mean, there are always ways we can up our “nice” game, or, better said, there are always ways we can improve the way we love others (I’m constantly feeling both inadequate and inspired in my pursuit of loving others really well – if you need some inspiration in this area you’ve got to check out both of Bob Goff’s books, Love Does and Everybody, Always – both books challenge and ignite my heart to love as radically as possible.) But I’m not talking about the “how to’s” of how to love others better in this post – I’m talking about how to love ourselves better from the inside out, which, in turn, actually does empower us to love others better, all in good time.
The truth is that most of us are really nice to other people and not really nice to ourselves. Call it perfectionism or just being very self-critical, excessively high self-imposed expectations sets us up to be our own worst enemies. We get caught in a cycle of self-bullying and bullying is never nice. Chances are, you are nicer to other than you are to yourself and that’s just not nice. Don’t beat yourself up (you’ve done that enough in your life already for goodness sake), because you don’t need to figure better self-kindness overnight. Let’s not add another thing to your probably already too long to-do list; instead, let’s just focus on taking a few steps forward, which is why I put together this list of 7 exceptionally easy niceties that you give a try yourself.
Go ahead and pick one or two of these to “give a go” to today – they should all be able to be tackled in ten minutes or less, so they won’t impede on your time or obligations. I know that you probably struggle putting yourself first, which is why these niceties are short, simple and sweet, yet effective enough to start teaching you, baby step by baby step, to be nice to yourself again.
EXCEPTIONALLY EASY NICETY #1:
WRITE YOURSELF A LOVE NOTE
This may seem nerdy, but I’ve learned that the more nerdy a little assignment is, usually the more useful and moving to the soul it is, so let’s hear it for nerdy stuff (and let’s be honest, we all have an inner-nerd).
So here it is, the top of the list: write yourself a love note.
I love the little love notes my husband Brandon writes me. I have a little box where I keep them all, and before you are jealous of the fact that my husband still writes me love notes, please know that I have told him that, knowing that I am a person who thrives on words of affirmation, that he is required to write me notes as part of our marriage agreement. In fact, before I had each of my children I told him that my number one priority was that, after I had my child, I expected a card with a love note. Judge me all you want, but that’s how much love notes mean to me. When my son Baker came five weeks before expected, Brandon obviously wasn’t prepared with his card and love note, but, after a few days of Baker being in the NICU, Brandon delivered with a take-out meal of brick oven pizza, some chocolates picked up from Whole Foods in the middle of the night and a “congratulations” card snagged from the hospital gift shop. He scribbled a poem on the card and some words about how my body created life and I practically framed the card the minute I took it out of the envelope.
The point is, don’t underestimate the power of the written word – whether it comes from you yourself or from someone else. Save it. Cherish it. Put the kind words into your heart and let them simmer there, turning over and over in truth until you believe them to be as true as they really are.
EXCEPTIONALLY EASY NICETY #2:
TEXT YOURSELF A LIST OF REASONS YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL
We live in an age where there is an abundance of interaction, but scarcity of real connection. One of the most powerful ways to connect authentically to others and to ourselves is through compliments. Brandon and I like to joke at the end of the day about the amount of “jewels” we received throughout our comings and goings – and ok, to be honest, on the days when we really need them, these “jewels” are the first things we talk about to one another. Every time someone compliments us it’s a jewel. It’s precious. It’s valuable. It shines and makes us feel like we sparkle – like we are capable and worthy. The great news is that you don’t have to wait on others to fill your pockets with jewels – you have a world of wealth within you, available at the fingertips of your own thoughts.
So, let’s fill your pockets with jewels. It’s as simple of a task as writing out of list of reasons you are beautiful. Essentially, write a list of compliments to yourself, and don’t worry, this isn’t being arrogant, to be honest, we sometimes sabotage our own growth from overbearing humility. This is your opportunity to brag on yourself to yourself. To recognize beauty – inside and out – where you see it and to start seeing the value in the shining jewel that you are. Too often because we are programmed to push-push-push, we simply don’t slow down enough to realize just how well we are actually doing, and this is a small way to start seeing yourself for how wonderful you really are, today. If the thought of coming up with a list to text yourself overwhelms you, just come up with five things you love about yourself – they can be small, from liking the freckles on your knees or the shape of your cheekbones, to larger statements, like loving your body type, it doesn’t matter, what matters is that you celebrate the beauty that you have and start appreciating yourself the way God does.
EXCEPTIONALLY EASY NICETY #3:
TREAT YOURSELF TO SOMETHING YOU’VE BEEN EYEING
I just ordered myself a Valentine’s Day present; yes, even though my husband spoils me and is always sure to overdo the holiday with way too much chocolate and five roses too many, I still took the extra step of self-care to finally purchase something I had been eyeing for way too long. For me, it was the Olmsted & Vaux non-toxic Eau de parfum from Phlur.
Let’s be honest. You’ve probably got a purchase, a small one even, that you’ve been “thinking about” and putting off and waiting for the perfect time, the perfect sale or the perfect whatever, and you still haven’t bought it. Stop the self-deprivation, delayed-gratification madness. Give yourself the gift of what you’ve been thinking about.
I just did this myself – and I’m telling you that because I want you to know that I struggle with this too; the struggle is real. For kicks, I timed myself in the process of how long it took me to purchase my Olmsted & Vaux – you know, the small purchase I had putting off and putting off, and y’all. It took no time at all. It took me 3 minutes. Exactly. That includes about an extra minute of fudge time where I was setting up a new account and kept tying mistakes and not matching my new passwords correctly. You guys. We have to stop putting off little things that bring us pleasure. We need to stop needing to “earn” the right to love on ourselves or indulge in something that would bring us joy. Start now. (And oh, if you need an idea of something to buy for yourself, I always think that Beautycounter is a good idea.)
EXCEPTIONALLY EASY NICETY #4:
INDULGE IN SOMETHING FOR YOUR SENSES
This one is easy. It is the classic “stop and smell the roses” advice we were given as kids and you’ll be amazed at just how powerfully moving it can be. Maybe you don’t have any roses in your house right now or maybe it’s frozen and icy outside and finding a flower would be like finding Waldo the hardest Where’s Waldo book ever; don’t worry, you don’t actually have to stop and smell roses. You can indulge your senses and take a break from the world in less than a minute, and it doesn’t even have to engage your olfactory senses, it just takes being intentional.
I feel like the world comes to a stop when I give myself permission to really take notice of something I am experiencing, of when I pay attention to my senses and I know you can get this mini-vacation for yourself too. Sometimes its slowing down and letting my breath be felt in every fiber of my being, sometimes I can experience this mini escape through the pause I have pressed on the world. Other times I want to taste chocolate, like really taste it – letting it linger on my tongue longer than I might normally. It can even be the feeling I get when I step into a Starbucks and allow myself to deeply inhale the smell of the beans that fill the air and I imagine that smell caffeinating my lungs as I smell. The point is, when I intentionally engage my sense, time slows. When time slows, life is felt, and when that happens, I don’t feel the pressure or stress that sometimes afflicts me – instead, I just feel good, connected, beautiful, alive – and those things make me feel nice.
EXCEPTIONALLY EASY NICETY #5:
MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
If you are a mom or in a relationship, chances are that you have about as much free time as I have – “free time” the phrase, feels more fantasy than a unicorn. It doesn’t have to be as impossible as we make it out to be, and all you need to do to start having a little time for yourself is to believe that the unicorn of free time can in fact exist for you too. And then the key is to start with tiny chunks of time for yourself – and set boundaries around them like little dates with yourself. This might be a 15-minute shower, a drive around your neighborhood blasting your favorite music (and without the kids in the car), or just sitting on the couch with a book or without an agenda. It is amazing what just a five-minute break can do for the soul. Not only will it refresh your spirit for the day, but it will also deepen and instill an abundance mindset around the concept of time, helping you feel less stressed, less pressured and less rushed or behind in life.
Seriously, there’s no need to feel guilty about time for yourself, because, when you look at the bigger picture, taking some time for yourself actually helps you be more engaged, more productive and more connected for the things that matter to you. A little self-recharge can actually make you a better version of you for the areas in which you want your life to shine and in how you love others.
Give this a go and don’t overthink or overcomplicate it. If being still or being “selfish” with your time, even in a small chunk like five or ten minutes causes you some anxiety (or if you’re already justifying in your mind why you don’t have the “time” to do this), then you especially need to do it.
EXCEPTIONALLY EASY NICETY #6:
CELEBRATE EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE YOU LOVE
The day I decided to start having more fun in my life is the day that life became more fun. It wasn’t that I was suddenly more fun, or that I even knew how to have fun or what I considered fun, rather, it was my permission slip. It was the starting point of the new me, the improved Trish – the happy, alive, free, engaged, successful, stress-free Trish. One of the small shifts I made to start having more fun was to start celebrating people, events, holidays and the little things more (but more on that in #7 below). More than anything, I decided to stop comparing myself to others and to stop being threatened by their beauty, their intelligence, their happiness, their ideas or their success – instead, I started seeing them – and I mean everyone, family, friends, neighbors, strangers – as my team, my people, my world and I decided to cheer them on. I learned that the more you cheer for and celebrate others, the more joy you actually feel yourself.
Take the pressure off yourself – that in and of itself is a gift of love you can give to yourself, and you can do this by looking outward and really applauding those around you who are shining. You’ll find that the more you do this, the more you will find to celebrate, and the more you find to celebrate, the more of a good time you’ll be having … and having a good time is contagious, to both those around you and to yourself. It’s a win-win and an easy one to get.
EXCEPTIONALLY EASY NICETY #7:
POP SOME PROSECCO
I remember when I used to wait for a reason to open my favorite bottle of champagne or for the perfect excuse to pull that aging bottle of red off the rack. To be honest, I wasn’t as happy then as I am now. Not that I wasn’t happy, it’s just that I was always looking too far ahead of where I was in the present. Nothing was ever quite “good enough” to celebrate – and even if I had made strides in an area, I always found myself wanting to “tough it out” to have more “earned” to celebrate in the future. I think if we want to be nicer to ourselves, then one simple way to start is to stop waiting for a “better time.” We don’t need to earn the right to celebrate or to be happy, we just need to lean into it because we are surrounded by reasons to do so if we look around and take note.
The adage, “every day is a gift” always resonated with me but for the life of me I couldn’t’ figure out how to live in such a way that honored the gift. I knew I wanted to live in the present and to appreciate each day more, but I just didn’t know where to start. And then I started popping more prosecco. Literally, it was the decision to have more “champagne moments” in my week – even on the mundane Monday – that changed how I feel about myself and about life. Champagne moments don’t always have to involve champagne or alcohol at all – they are representations of slowing down, patting yourself on the back, celebrating beauty and making each day a little bit of a party. Living with the belief that every day has champagne moments will create a life of wonder, beauty and little marvels to celebrate every day of your life, and I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty wonderful to me.
Oh, and if you’re looking for another way to love on yourself today? (I mean, who isn’t?!) Then pop some earphones in and listen to episode #253 of #TheConfidencePodcast and let’s talk about how having more fun in your life will make you more money and more friends. Seriously, we need to stop taking ourselves and life so seriously and start making more fun – and fun can be had any day, any circumstance – it’s all a matter of how you choose to live. Have some fun with me and let’s explore the possibilities, you can listen in iTunes or directly at my website at www.trishblackwell.com/253