1. Identify a kind thought
Some of us might not have an idea of what self-kindness sounds like. Others may have a hard time feeling and believing those words. Affirmations aren’t always helpful because we can’t logic our way into an emotional experience. We can use affirmations as a first step to creating safety for ourselves.
Start by creating a list of compassionate thoughts. If you have a piece of paper, write these down. Otherwise picture a mental list. Whether or not you believe the words, create a list of 3 to 5 compassionate statements.
I am strong
I am brave
My needs are important
I am a person capable of love and acceptance
I recognize my needs and the needs of others
I am lovable
I am worthy of love
I tune into my gut
I can trust myself
I am balanced
I am resilient
2. Practice feeling this thought physically
Our bodies have an innate capacity for recognizing truth. Truth feels different than trauma. Truth might feel quieter and show up more gently than a negative self-belief. Choose an affirmation to repeat either out loud or in your mind. Notice what shows up physically as you share these words with yourself. What does it feel like to sit with the words, “I matter,” or “I am important?” Is there a part of you that feels the truth of those words? Can you stay present with that part however loud or soft? The more we practice recognizing truth the more easily we recognize it in the future.
3. Engage in loving behaviors
Our beliefs impact our actions and our actions impact our beliefs. They physically and emotionally reinforce each other. Can you think of 3 behaviors that promote self-compassion and kindness? What would it do for you to practice one of these behaviors daily? Linking our behaviors and beliefs might sound something like:
I am going for a walk because my needs are important
I am staying in bed because I can trust myself to know when to slow down
I am breathing because I am strong
I am reaching out to a friend because I am worthy of connection
I am washing my face because I listen to my body
I am journaling because my emotions are worthy of being felt and validated
I am developing a new skill because I am brave
We can practice linking some of our most seemingly "mundane" behaviors with compassionate thoughts. Can you imagine a future self who knows he or she is worthy of love and belonging? Who feels their importance and recognizes their needs? We encourage you to practice one of these suggestions and notice what happens. Understanding that for some of us this may feel especially difficult. You matter. You are important. Healing is possible.