World Kindness Day

Do we need to begin by being kinder to ourselves first?

It’s almost seen as a given that being kind to other people will equate to happiness. However, when you really think about it, most of the motives behind kind acts feed back into how we feel about ourselves in one way or another. That’s not to say that there’s anything bad about that, but whether it’s volunteering, donating to charity, helping a friend through a break-up, or even just smiling at a stranger, we do it so that we feel like we’re being the best people we can be.

How many times have you done a good deed of some sort, and afterwards felt a sense of happiness and thought “wow, I’ve been a really good person today”. It may sound trivial, but these acts of kindness massively impact our perceptions of ourselves.

So, if being kind to others correlates with our own happiness, then in theory the same should apply with how we treat ourselves.

In general, we tend to be extremely hard on ourselves; from criticising the way we look in the mirror, regretting the amount we procrastinate, or even how little we stick to our gym plans. I personally think social media has a huge role to play in this, in that it promotes a huge comparison with other people. Instagram ensures that we only see the positives of other’s lives, so we are always marking ourselves against a perfection, which in reality does not even exist. Once I started to think about this more, it made me understand the phrase ‘stop being your own worst critic’.

After reading a few books, listening to a couple of podcasts, and doing some of my own self-reflection, I reached the realisation that in order to be truly happy, maybe we need to be kinder to ourselves, whilst also leaving out the comparison against our friends and/or celebrities.

With it being World Kindness day on 13th November, maybe we should start by being kinder to ourselves first, then this positive energy will slowly spread to those around you.

Andri Neocleous