How to Be Nice to Yourself

Are you your own worst critic? Would you allow anyone else in the world to speak to you the way you speak to yourself?  My answers are yes and no, respectively, which is why practicing self-love in the form of self-care has become a top priority in my wellness and diabetes management routine. 

Changing the way you speak to and treat yourself – in other words, being kind to yourself as your default setting instead of vicious personal attacks anytime things don’t go as planned – comes down your willingness to catch yourself in the act, and then doing something about it.

You must continually interrupt old patterns that you know are bringing you down – as they occur in real time – in order to uncondition them as your default response, and in that same moment recondition new responses that are intentionally chosen by you on the basis of self-love practices, positive reinforcement, and personal growth.

Get Intentional About How You Want to Feel

Have you ever woken up in the morning and asked yourself the question “How do I want to feel today?” Have you ever made a clear statement regarding how you intend to feel that day, something like “I intend to feel good today.”

Consciously letting yourself and the Universe know how you intend to feel each day is an extraordinarily empowering practice of self-love, and the difference it makes in how your day unfolds can be miraculous. 

The mental, emotional and physical shift that occurs when you go from the waking thought of “This day is going to suck” to “I intend to feel good and spread love today” is astounding.  It just feels so much better on every level. 

Gaining Pleasure and Avoiding Pain

How would you feel if every time you experienced a setback on a long term project at work, for example, your boss told you that you are worthless, stupid, pathetic, undeserving, that you are just not enough?

You might feel hurt, angry, sad, dejected – I know I would!

Imagine trying to regain focus on that same project with those insulting labels rattling around in your mind – do you think your performance moving forward may be affected negatively? 

Do you think the motivation and excitement you originally felt about working on this project that is truly meaningful to you and those around you may feel diminished because of the negative feedback?

Of course it would. That is human behavior at its core. We are all hardwired in every part of our mind, body, and spirit to move toward pleasure and to avoid pain. Plain and simple.

Now imagine that you are the boss of the long term project of creating and sustaining the state of your mind, body, spirit wellness –because you are. I encourage you to step into and claim that power, because no matter what circumstances you are experiencing in your life, you are always the boss of your choices, and your choices determine your outcomes and feelings.

The long term project your boss-self is working on is creating a sustainable, kind, empathetic, loving relationship with the only body, mind, spirit combo you will ever get in this life. 

After all, the most fulfilling, important, meaningful, influential and impactful relationship you will ever have in your entire life is the one you choose to build with yourself, and unfortunately, most people go their entire lives without learning that all of that life-altering boss power has always been and will always be within them.

And, once you begin to embrace that you get to design and build that relationship however you want to, your life will never be the same again.   

First Things First – Perspective

What is your perspective on you? If the majority of your answers are framed in the negative, then the first thing that must change – if you truly want to be nicer to yourself sustainably – is your perspective.

You see, in every single area of life, our perspectives always determine our priorities and our practices. Always.

If your perspective on something is that it is very important and meaningful to you, it will get prioritized toward the top of your to-do list and you will follow through with the practices that nurture that perspective of importance you’ve assigned it.

For example, have you ever been at the beginning of a romantic relationship where your perspective on your partner was that they were amazing? Where did you prioritize making the time in your schedule to spend with this person? At the top, of course! What were your practices around this person? Did you smile, hold hands, and just choose to be near them as much as possible? Yes? Okay, stick with me.

Have you ever been at the end of a romantic relationship?For some reason, your perspective changed. You received a new piece of information, or experienced a different side of this person – whatever happened, your perspective changed, possibly in an instant, and you knew that the relationship was ending.

The very second you had a shift in your perspective, your priorities and practices changed just as instantaneously. Your priorities became spending as little time around them as possible, and your practices became avoiding hand holding and the like. Are you still with me?

In order to be nicer to yourself, the first and most crucial step is to intentionally choose the perspective that your mind, body, spirit wellness is the most important thing you will ever get to be involved in throughout the entirety of your life, that you deserve love, that you are as deserving of your love as any other person in the Universe, and that you are overwhelmingly grateful for this opportunity, this blessing, to nurture this relationship every single day.

Once you consciously choose that perspective, your priorities and practices will line up in turn. And then it’s simply practice, practice, practice – while being gentle and nonjudgmental with yourself every step of the way.

What Was the Question? Language Matters!

Do you ask yourself any of the following questions, or questions like them, on a regular basis?

  • Why can’t I catch a break?
  • Why do I have such bad luck?
  • Why can’t I get anything right?
  • What is wrong with me?
  • How could I be so stupid?
  • Why does (insert name here) have everything I want and I don’t?

When you ask yourself questions that presuppose that you are unlucky, a failure, not enough, or compares yourself with another person on a regular basis, you are unconsciously training your brain to supply you with low quality answers that will undoubtedly keep you mired down in a self-created sea of seemingly unlucky circumstances, but are mainly manifestations of your own fear-based questions.

After choosing your perspective, you must choose your questions. Instead of asking yourself the above questions when things don’t go as planned, ask yourself questions that are based on self-love – questions that prompt your brain to give you positive, resourceful answers.

  • What action can I take right now to improve my current situation, even by just two millimeters?
  • What step in my action plan tripped me up, and what changes can I make moving forward to create different results?
  • Who do I know that has already achieved the results I am after that I can interview or model or read a book they wrote in order to get where I am trying to go more efficiently and effectively?

Choosing resourceful questions that allow your brain to search for answers in a growth mindset will always produce more desirable results than asking a question that presupposes that you generally suck and that there’s nothing you can do about it. Be nice to yourself, you deserve it!

The Best Friend Test

One fast and easy but extremely effective exercise that I use and teach all the time in order to gauge whether you are being as nice to yourself as you truly deserve is the best friend test.

Here’s how to do it: Take whatever situation, experience,circumstance, or event you are currently examining in your own life and tell it to yourself as if it were your best friend telling you this about themselves. Yes,I am very much suggesting that you talk to yourself!

What would you say to them? Would you offer them words of love, support and encouragement? Or, would you insult and diminish them, and make them feel unworthy for trying to accomplish something?

My guess is that you would love and support them. That you would tell them they did something amazing for trying and to keep their head up and keep at it. And that, my friend, is always the way you must treat yourself– the exact same way you would treat your best friend in the same situation.

I can’t put enough emphasis on the fact that there is no perfect on this journey to being nicer to yourself, only practice. Ebbs and flows. Steps forward and steps backward – this, and all other aspects of life, are not linear. And the more you are willing to practice – just like anything else – the more skilled at being your own biggest supporter you will become.


  1. Steve says

    Great advice. More people just need to give themselves more free time so they can recharge and get ready for the next day.

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