5 Ways to Be Kinder to Yourself

By Lauren Krouse
Reviewed by Susan Ko, Ph.D.
December 30, 2022
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Many of us have a habit of extending kindness and compassion to everyone else while reserving the harshest insults and judgment for ourselves. Cultivating self-compassion might sound a little woo-woo—especially if you were raised on tough love or if the phrase “gratitude journal” makes you roll your eyes. But the truth is that you can help brighten a low mood, ease stress and feelings of anxiety, and improve your overall well‑being just by being kinder to yourself.

The Power of Self-Compassion

Being kinder to yourself starts with three key building blocks: mindfulness, an acknowledgement of our common humanity, and self-compassion. The goal is to adopt a more open and nonjudgmental stance toward yourself and your actions instead of drowning in dark feelings and thoughts, reframe your struggles as part of the universal human experience instead of your burden to carry alone, and replace that running critique of yourself with self-forgiveness and grace.

Compared to putting yourself down or fixating on your flaws, this gentle approach presents a healthier way to deal with setbacks and imperfections. Research suggests that this attitude may help you learn how to tolerate painful emotions, think more clearly about your own shortcomings, and better recognize what you need to move forward.