Hey you! Be nice (to yourself)!

If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, you see some political posts, a ton of my-kids-are-cute posts, some my-husband-rocks stuff, and a handful (or more) a day of images with quotes about being kind, compassionate, accepting, and everything that goes along with such character traits. They're important, those character traits, especially as our nation is in such a volatile state.

You know what else is important that we don't talk about very often, myself included? Self-compassion. We're so often encouraged to show kindness and compassion to others, which is the right thing to do, but when we are going through something difficult, why is it so hard to turn that around on ourselves? Sure, we do something nice for ourselves, like eat a box of cookies (no? just me?) or we take a night out with our friends. But the self-talk stays: I'm ridiculous, I'm a terrible mom, I failed -- AGAIN, and on and on and on.

It's one thing to take time for yourself. It's a whole other thing to speak kindly to yourself, to give yourself permission to feel a certain way, or to give yourself grace for a continual life struggle.

We are so used to comparing our lives with what we see in everyone else's that we can't even tell when we're doing it. That old saying: we're comparing our insides to everyone else's outsides. We have no real idea what lies beneath the surface. (And even with the happy FB posts, that's one moment out of 86,400 in a 24-hour span of time; nobody can keep up that level of emotion for that many moments!)

But how different our days would be if we spoke to ourselves the way we spoke to our friends when they're in a rough patch:

I'm ridiculous; I should have known not to pursue that.
Sure, it didn't work out, but at least you tried. That takes courage.

I'm a failure -- AGAIN.
First of all, you weren't a failure in the first place. Second of all, you're being too hard on yourself. You tried and it didn't work -- so you try again. Or you move on to something different. But don't focus on what didn't work, think of something new that might work.

It's all my fault.
You know that's not true. It's takes more than one person to (...fill in the blank...).

A challenge for this week: when you start putting yourself down (called negative self-talk), put yourself in the third person and say to yourself what you'd say to a friend. Even if you're really experiencing a catastrophic failure, say to yourself what you'd say to a friend in that same situation, and see where you land.

I'm not saying this is a cure-all, but I'm saying this could be one small change that--over time--leads to a much healthier, happier you.