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What does being kind to yourself mean?


Photo by Omer Salom on Unsplash

Spiritual teachers, holistic practitioners, coaches and healers alike all tell us to be kind to ourselves, but what does that really mean? Does it mean drawing ourselves a hot scented bath, relaxing with a glass of wine, treating ourselves to a night on the couch with a good book or a feel-good movie or spending a day at the spa?


While these are all things that we might need in order to recharge our batteries and while listening to our bodies and intuitive sense of wellbeing is loving toward ourselves, being kind to ourselves is more than sporadic acts of retreating from our busy lives and giving our bodies and minds a welcome break from the stresses of our daily existence. These are only outside solutions geared to make us temporarily feel better, whereas being kind to ourselves goes much, much deeper than that.


Being kind to ourselves is a daily practice of awareness and requires us to be aware of our thoughts and our subconscious programming. Thoughts like: “I am not good enough”, “I am a failure”, “I am never going to measure up”, “I am fat and ugly, nobody would want me now”, “I am shy, people must think I am boring” etc. etc. are unkind thoughts and therefore unkind to ourselves. Why? Because they are in conflict with who we really are, which is pure and unconditional love. In other words, the vibration of these negative thoughts and beliefs are not in alignment with who we are, therefore they create an incoherent, chaotic state in our physical and emotional body. Our body becomes like an orchestra that is out of tune.


It is not difficult to understand that when we think and feel negatively about ourselves, it will impact our lives and our health. People who are constantly negative are not happy people and are not pleasant to be around. So, it impacts our outside environment (and the people we come in contact with), as well as the environment inside ourselves. It creates dis-ease, illnesses and pain.


What we often do not realize is that, when we feel anger, hatred, resentment or judgment toward others, we equally create an incoherent, chaotic state within our body and mind. Therefore, it is also not being kind to ourselves when we harbour negative energy toward another person. Negative thoughts and emotions towards another, such as judging them for unwise or unjust behavior, wishing them ill or wanting them to suffer for their actions, may be justified from an egoic, cultural or societal point of view, but we are the ones paying the price in the end: an incoherent state of being, which causes us suffering and pain.


Being kind to ourselves then means letting go of all of that which is unkind, negative, limiting, constricting and against our true nature. Our true nature is pure and unconditional love-consciousness. It is forgiving and compassionate, it is inclusive and wants to be of service, it is understanding and wise and it is life-affirming.


Being kind to ourselves requires awareness, as mentioned above, of our negative thoughts, emotions and beliefs and then bringing a softness to it. In other words, when we notice unkind thoughts and behaviours, we soften toward them: we are compassionately understanding our pain and process instead of judging ourselves to be incompetent failures; we forgive the parts in our psyche which are still unconscious instead of condemning ourselves as not (good) enough; we communicate from the heart instead of lashing out in pain or alienating people from our lives; we try to understand our deepest wounds and bring love and healing to them instead of blaming others for our pain. We find the stillness of our deepest being to see the wisdom that is already present instead of dominating and controlling our reality from our ego and our intellect. In short, being kind to ourselves is living from our heart.


So, if unkind thoughts, emotions and actions cause an incoherent vibration within the body's energy system causing disease, illness and pain and kind thoughts cause coherent vibrations, which brings the body's energy system into balance and harmony and its natural state of love and perfection, then it stands to reason that by being kind to yourself, you are healing yourself.


By creating a neutral space of unconditional love during the session and having a clear intention of bringing the body to a state of health and homeostasis, a craniosacral therapist also brings the body into coherence, which is why you feel so balanced and relaxed after a session and pain often disappears. However, the changes will not last if you go home and continue to beat yourself up for this, that and the other, keep blaming your parents for your misfortunes and resent your partner for not puting out the trash. When you do the work by being kind to yourself and when you have absolute trust in an outcome that is for your highest good, (which, by the way, is the biggest hurdle for our ego), then the cosmic intelligence and divine consciousness within you will lead you to a state of harmony (balance), wellness (health) and inner peace (happiness). No doubt!

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