This was a fantastic article on Zen Habits: How to Be Kind to Yourself & Still Get Stuff Done:
[T]he truth is, most of us are judging ourselves, beating ourselves up, looking harshly at our shortcomings and flaws, a lot of the time. It’s why we’re stressed, anxious, frustrated and disappointed so often.
A different path might be kindness to ourselves. When we see a flaw, we might see the beauty in it. Instead of always striving to be better, we can find gratitude for how great we already are. Instead of beating ourselves up, we can be kind to ourselves and see that we have tried our best, that we had good intentions, that we have a good heart.
As someone whose OCD manifested as a pathological compulsion to beat myself up for even the smallest infraction, I know how crippling this can be. I am certainly not perfect at being kind to myself, but even learning the skill has been life-changing.
I love his reminder:
So here’s the rule: kindness to yourself, always. Even when you fail at the rule, be kind to yourself for failing to be kind.
We could all benefit from learning and practicing this skill. I hope that I will continue to work on it, and that I will be gentle with myself along the way.