The Importance Of Self Care And Self Kindness
In today’s fast-paced culture, it can be easy to put our own needs on the backburner and forget to be take care of ourselves. There are always more people who need our help, more work to be done, or more self-improvement to do. However, if you frequently push yourself past your limits and don’t take care of yourself, it can lead to exhaustion, stress, and even burnout.
Being more kind to yourself can help you stay healthy over the long-term. If you struggle to be kind to yourself throughout the day, connecting to your inner child may help you.
Increasing Self-Compassion By Relating To The Inner Child
It’s natural to feel kind and loving towards children, who are naturally innocent, cute, and lovable. In fact, for many people, it’s easier to be kind to children than to ourselves.
In my work as a therapist, I frequently work with the “inner child.” Our “inner child” is the innocent being we once were that lives inside of us. It is a vulnerable, lovable part of ourself that needs kindness, just like real children do.
Working with the inner child has many benefits, a few of which are reducing stress and burnout by helping you take better care of yourself. It helps you see yourself from a clearer perspective, attend to your own needs, and be more naturally kind and compassionate to yourself.
Would You Say That To A Child?
It’s common to treat yourself poorly by not eating nutritious food, depriving yourself of sleep, putting your own needs last, or pushing yourself past your limits. Sometimes, the inner critic runs background noise constantly, telling you that you’re not good enough or that you don’t deserve to rest. In moments like this, it’s good to pause and ask yourself: would you say those things to a child?
If the answer is “no,” then why do this to yourself? Though the effects on ourselves are not as striking or obvious as they would be to a young child, they are damaging to our psyches. Stopping and asking yourself, “would I say this to a child” or “would I do this to a child” can put your behavior into perspective and make it easier to slow down and take care of yourself, rather than pushing yourself past your breaking point.
Taking A Pause
In order to do this, you need to make time to pause and listen inward for your inner child’s, and body’s, needs. This helps you take a break when your neck starts to cramp, take a nap when you’re sleepy, or allow yourself to feel sadness and comfort yourself. Just like eating healthy food daily helps you take care of your physical health, checking in with yourself and your inner child daily helps you take care of your psychological health.
Connect With Your Inner Child
To connect with your inner child, visualize an image of yourself when you were very small, in all of your innocent beauty. You can ask your inner child what he or she needs: is she/he hungry, tired, lonely, or sad? Chances are you will want to love and take care of this child. Can you listen to his or her needs, take care of him/her, and tell him/her kind things?
With practice, it will become easier and easier to take care of yourself and show yourself compassion on a daily basis, so you can reduce stress, avoid burnout, and feel more healthy and alive.
I am a psychotherapist, and this is what I love helping people do. I help teens, college students, and young adults in-person in my office in Saint Louis, Missouri. I also offer online therapy to people who live in Missouri or Illinois.
Helping clients connect with their inner child and take better care of themselves is one of the many things I help my clients to do. I hope this article helped you begin to connect more deeply with yourself. If you need more help or want to ask questions about how to live a more vibrant, self-loving, and centered life, please feel free to schedule a free consult with me.