I believe the most powerful way to live a happier life is to learn how to be kinder to yourself and love yourself more.
As women, we often struggle with accepting ourselves and being confident and secure in who we are.
Being kinder to yourself not only makes your relationship with yourself a better one, it also improves how you show up as a leader.
Many of the issues that come up around perfectionism, negative self-talk and overwork can be reduced almost completely by just being kinder to yourself and fully accepting and embracing who you are.
If you love yourself, you are operating from a secure place. This means you don’t feel like you need to push yourself ridiculously hard to prove that you're good enough or believe that the quality of your work defines your value as a person.
Being secure in yourself also reduces your need for external validation and makes you more open to receiving feedback in your role.
So how can you be kinder to yourself?
Here’s eight ways to get started:
It’s important to recognise that not all that pressure that you feel is external. Often we push ourselves to over-deliver just to prove we’re good enough.
Start by asking yourself - “What unnecessary pressure am I putting on myself and how can I release some of?”.
You wouldn't ever be as harsh to other people as you are to yourself in your own head. When you catch yourself being critical or putting yourself down, pause and ask yourself, would I say that to my best friend or child or partner? What would you say to them? Now say that to yourself instead.
Another question that I love is, “If I was being kind to myself, what would I do now?”.
You're human and you’re allowed to make mistakes. Next time you make a mistake, actively forgive yourself, decide to learn from it and forgive yourself.
We can even be grateful for our mistakes and what we’ve learnt from them!
It’s important to recognise and be proud of who you are and your good traits. Once you have your list, keep it handy to remind yourself of when you need a boost.
If you're struggling to make a list of things that you love about yourself, that indicates that there's some resistance there. Start with the things you like about yourself instead.
As a leader or manager, you become more visible to others and more people will have opinions on how you do things because they impact them more. Accept that not everybody is going to be your best friend and that’s ok, as long as you can have healthy working relationships.
You do not need everybody to like you to be a good person. Their opinions do not define you.
We can get caught up comparing ourselves to other people and thinking we should be more like them. Catch yourself when you’re comparing and remind yourself of your achievements, what you’re proud of and why you love yourself.
As women, we often put ourselves behind everyone else in our lives. Putting yourself first might look like setting boundaries, saying no, creating time just for you or doing a self-care activity.
Prioritise yourself in some way each day.
The most powerful practice I did to get better at loving myself was simply putting my hand on my heart and saying I love you. Try to do it on your own and say it out loud.
This can be a daily practice or something you do when you’re struggling and really need it.
After reading this list, what tip do you want to practice first? What's one way that you can love yourself more today?
For more articles on the issues that impact women leaders at work follow Carla Miller on LinkedIn
Find out about the various ways Carla works with women leaders and organisations on her website www.carlamillertraining.com