Being Kind To Yourself: 2 Helpful Questions

Being kind to yourself: 2 helpful questions

Many of the problems that distress us most have a common origin: the lack of self-love. Due to all the external pressures (to which we are subjected), how demanding we are with ourselves and the feeling of being lost and not knowing what to do, we can come to treat ourselves with excessive harshness and rigidity. For this reason, if you want to improve your mood, you have to learn to be kind to yourself.

Self-compassion is a concept that first appeared in the Buddhist religion. Being kind to yourself means using the tones and generosity with which one would treat a very close friend, instead of falling into unnecessary self-criticism. Without realizing it, many times we talk to ourselves as if we are our own worst enemy.

Research has shown that in order  to be kind to yourself, you need to develop three skills:

  • Self goodness. It consists of the ability to act sympathetically and kindly towards oneself. For example, forgiving ourselves instead of blaming ourselves when we make a mistake.
  • Sense of shared humanity. This element, with such a particular name, actually hides a very basic attitude. It consists in believing that no one is perfect and that we all have the right to make mistakes. This helps us to understand that we are neither better nor worse than others.
  • Mindfulness. The ability to live in the present moment helps us to relativize problems when they arise. It also allows us to be more stoic, increasing patience towards us.
Smiling woman with high self-esteem

How to be kind to yourself?

Now that you know what skills are involved in self-compassion, you are surely wondering how you can develop them. These are not characteristics inherent in us from birth (perhaps there is a pre-installation, a potential favored by genetics , but nothing more). Being kind to yourself requires conscious effort and a good deal of work.

Researchers have found that one of the best strategies for developing self-compassion is to heal the quality of the questions. Asking certain questions can change our point of view and our way of acting. This aspect, important when interacting with others, becomes fundamental in the way we relate and treat ourselves. Below you will find two of the most powerful questions for learning to be kind to yourself.

1- What do we need to feel good?

This question may seem extremely simple, but most of us don’t ask it frequently. In general, we worry so much about what we  “have to do” that we forget our own needs.

One of the distorted ideas that lead us to make this mistake is to consider selfishness in negative terms. If a person declares that he wants to work on his own happiness, he will not be long in receiving a suspicious look. Shouldn’t he sacrifice himself for others instead? However, as Aristotle said, worrying about oneself, far from being negative, is necessary.

In order to give ourselves to others, we first need to have something to give. Think about it, who can do better? A person who is unhappy because he doesn’t care about himself or  one who is fine with himself because he takes care of his needs ?

2- How would we treat a loved one in this situation?

On many occasions we can become our worst enemies. Nobody judges us so harshly, nor asks us as much as. This can generate serious self-esteem problems,  demanding perfection that is impossible to achieve. Imagine that you have argued with your partner and that he / she begins to blame you. In this situation, it is common for people to say things like:

  • “Whatever I do, I’m always wrong”
  • “How can I be so numb?”
  • “Eventually I’ll find myself alone, as always”

The next time you have these irrational ideas that don’t stop spinning around in your head, imagine telling them to someone very dear to you. How would you make it feel? Do you think you would really help him?

If the answer is no,  why treat yourself worse than others?

Girl with heart in her hand in front of her face


Treating yourself with self-compassion is a very difficult skill to acquire. While being critical of yourself can help us change, taking this to the extreme causes us great  suffering. For this reason, it pays to learn to be kind to yourself.

Ask yourself these two questions the next time you judge yourself too harshly. While it may be difficult at first, gradually you will notice that treating yourself kindly will become more natural.

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