Be Kind to Yourself

I was driving home from Los Angeles. The sun was shining, the roads were clear, the views were breathtaking. Everything seemed perfect, and I felt great.

I was listening to a Tim Ferriss podcast with Rick Rubin, and Tim asked Rick, knowing what he now knows about life, what advice he would give to a younger version of himself.

Rick said “Be kind to yourself.” and I suddenly started to cry.

It brought up feelings that I didn’t even know were there: Pressure to be a better writer. Disappointment at goals I hadn’t reached. One hundred other things that I didn’t even know I felt.

But that’s okay. I realized that all of those feelings are fine. Today, even though it is 2015, men aren’t supposed to cry. And even though women are allowed to, when they do so they are often fulfilling a stereotype of being “weak”.

Life can be an emotional rollercoaster. Great things happen, and bad things happen. As we grow and learn, we get better at dealing with the lows, but it is never easy. Movies and stereotypes make it seem easy for others, but it isn’t. It’s hard, and sometimes achieving little victories is all we can do. But we don’t need to be ashamed of that.

It’s cliche, but being kind to ourselves is important. We all make mistakes, we all have setbacks, and we all screw up. Realizing this, letting go of the past, and trying hard to do better, be a better person, and hit more goals is all we can do.

Be kind to yourself. There are times when other people won’t be. There are times when life won’t be. We can’t control that. But we can control how we treat ourselves.

I once read “never compare your inside to someone else’s outside”. That is part of being kind to yourself, and realizing that other people have struggles you’ll never know about. Be kind to them, and be kind to yourself.

There are things that depressed me as a child which I can now easily laugh off as unimportant. Take the long view, and you’ll realize that whatever you’re beating yourself up about now probably isn’t worth it. When in doubt, pain, sadness, or confusion, be kind. Be kind to others, your family, and strangers on the street. But most of all, be kind to yourself.

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