By Kelsey Klepper
It seems to be so much easier for me to be kind to others and to show more compassion towards complete strangers than to myself. Okay, except maybe when my toddler has been pushing me all day, then it’s difficult for me to consistently find my compassionate voice. I can be so critical of myself: the way I look, my achievements, my knowledge, my parenting, my relationship with Jesus . . Can anyone else relate to this? Maybe I can offer more grace and compassion toward others because it is written over and over in the Bible.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).
Then why do we find it so difficult to be compassionate toward ourselves? If we are meant to be kind and loving to others, then surely we are meant to be kind and loving to ourselves as well.
Here is some good news about self-compassion; we can change the way we talk to ourselves. We have the choice. I’ve done it. I know you can too. My inner critic voice has slowly gotten quieter over the past couple of years, and my compassionate voice has become more dominant. It definitely didn’t happen overnight. It’s been a process of relearning how I can speak to myself with a voice of gentleness and kindness. Does that mean I’m no longer critical of myself at times? No. I still find that it’s easier to be kinder to others than to myself. But I’m choosing self-compassion much more often than I used to, and that’s a step in the right direction.
A few things that may help you start using a more compassionate inner voice:
More kindness to all, but please let’s not forget that we also need to be speaking kindly to ourselves every single day.