If you’re on a mission to be a nicer person and sometimes find it hard to paste that smile on your face by the end of the day, you just might be putting the cart before the horse. When it comes to kindness, it’s nearly impossible to shine it outward on others if you’re not showing kindness to yourself. Here are easy ways to be kinder to yourself:
Remove the word “should” from your vocabulary
Today. Right now. Stop telling yourself that you should lose 20 pounds and that you should save more money each week or that you should have a cleaner house. Should is an evil word that doesn’t give much thought to the fact that real life is hard and takes a Herculean effort just to get through every single day. Stop dwelling on what you think you should be doing and, instead, give yourself a high-five for the amazing things you did accomplish today—even if it was getting home and into your pajamas before an apocalyptic meltdown on the tube.
It’s hard to be hateful to yourself and think nasty thoughts when your facial muscles are pulled up into a smile. It’s science. It’s been proven. Wake up each day with the goal of smiling as much as you can, even if you’re not sure what you’re smiling about. Pay attention to how hard it is to beat yourself up internally when you’re smiling, and soon you’ll have a genuine reason to smile. Tons of them! Almost like “faking it until you make it,” making yourself smile more (even if you’re not really feeling it) is a proven method for lifting a sour mood and releasing feel-good chemicals into the brain.