"How do you speak to yourself? I don’t mean out-loud as you’re walking down the street, I mean what is the tone of your inner dialogue, the inner chatter that everyone experiences in day to day life? Are you calm, forgiving and kind, or are you demanding, impatient and judgmental.
It never ceases to amaze me just how unkind we can be to ourselves. And then of course everyone wonders why we have no peace of mind and are unhappy. But how could we possibly talk to ourselves in that way and not be unhappy? And how could the mind be settled and calm when we are constantly berating it?
This is a pattern I see again and again and it’s amazing the different ways that we can justify such behaviour. Just the other day I heard someone say that the reason they were so unkind and unforgiving towards themselves was because they were always thinking of others! This is of course complete nonsense. The ability to be kind to oneself and also to others is not mutually exclusive.
In fact, I would argue that until we have learnt to be genuinely kind to ourselves, then how could we possibly be genuinely kind to others. More realistically, what we’ll actually be doing in these situations is fulfilling an ‘idea’ of kindness, rather than coming from a ‘place’ of kindness. In this sense, it is a ‘learned’ kindness, rather than necessarily reflecting our ‘innate’ kindness.