“I am my own safe space”: Kindness to Self

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October 10, 2022

Writers: Jasmin Cyrille Tecson, Rafael Reyes
Researcher: Jasmin Cyrille Tecson, Rafael Reyes
Editor: Alvin Joseph Mapoy, Richardson Mojica
Peer Reviewer: Alvin Joseph Mapoy
Graphics: Mitz Sabellano, Billie Fuentes, Jacklyn Moral, Krystle Mae Labio
Tweetchat Moderators: Patricia Sevilla, Marian Lorrice Apostol, Tobey Fhar Isaac Calayo
Spaces Moderators: Jake Lester Villanueva, Lemuel Gallogo, Bill Fuentes 


October 10 is World Mental Health Day, and the theme for 2022 is about Making Mental Health & Well-Being for All a Global Priority [1]. With such a Herculean task as making mental health accessible for almost 8 billion people, there is a lot of work to be done to achieve this vision. Where we can start is already in the theme; “well-being for all” means that me, you, and everyone is the first step towards that goal. We can move towards a better tomorrow when we choose to work on ourselves.

“Maybe I made a mistake yesterday, but yesterday’s me is still me. I am who I am today, with all my faults. Tomorrow I might be a tiny bit wiser, and that’s me, too. These faults and mistakes are what I am, making up the brightest stars in the constellation of my life. I have come to love myself for who I was, who I am, and who I hope to become.” This quote by Kim Nam Jun (also known as RM of BTS) is one of the highlights of their speech at the launch of Generation Unlimited, a mission towards improving global education for the youth, at the UN General Assembly [2].

Despite being one of the premier faces of K-pop, RM’s speech shows his groundedness to reality. Like everyone else, he admits to making mistakes and understands that growth can be slow but steady. In a world where social media is a place to highlight nothing but the best of everyone’s lives, RM’s idea of self-love tells us that we, too, can achieve great things if we take the first small step towards growth and be kind to ourselves first.

Why we need to be kind to ourselves

Picture a significant life event in your past—starting a new job, taking exams for your dream school or professional license, or delivering a speech. What were your expectations for the result of that event? How did it turn out? Were your expectations met, whether positive or negative?

This phenomenon of manifesting our expected results is called a self-fulfilling prophecy. In self-fulfilling prophecies, we predict what will happen in the future, then act according to what we believe in, leading to results that confirm our original predictions [3]. For instance, if you believe that you’re not good at public speaking, it becomes more likely that you will trip in some way and end up delivering a subpar speech. You also lock yourself away from the opportunities to improve speaking because of your fears that you will fail from the get-go.

The words we tell ourselves are more impactful than we think. A study on diabetes care and education found that strengths-based language—emphasizing what people can do rather than what they cannot—is a way to give respect and grant hope to people with diabetes [4]. Furthermore, person-centered language—as opposed to identifying people with certain characteristics, like diabetes—empowers the person and helps reinforce their identity as a human being, not just their disease or condition [4]. By helping people with diabetes realize that they are more than their condition, they become motivated to change, gain control of their actions, and eventually improve their situation than if they had not realized.

Self-fulfilling prophecies tell us that we can take the wheel and steer our lives towards where we want to go. When we choose kindness, we open our eyes to more roads we can walk on. We allow ourselves to do more and become more than we think we are. Most importantly, we become people who love ourselves and give us a safe space to be ourselves.

How do we create a safe space for ourselves?

Self-care has been proven beneficial for one’s well-being and overall health [5]. In Tony Robbins’ article “How to Fall In Love with Yourself”, being kind to yourself is listed at the top of the list [6]. If we want to love ourselves, then we should first recognize that we are human with imperfections, capable of making mistakes and learning from them. The first step to loving ourselves and others is to be kind to our own first [6]. We must focus on the SELF:

Self-talk 

While talking to yourself sounds like a weird practice, it’s a way to become mindful of our thoughts and beliefs. Negative self-talk becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because we bring ourselves down and end up doing less than what we are capable of.

It’s perfectly okay to keep ourselves in line with standards, but when we fail to meet them, it’s better to reframe our negative perceptions into something more positive.

Encourage yourself

There are always positives and negatives to many experiences in life. Instead of focusing on the bad parts and saying, “I failed today,” why not look for the learning opportunity that came with the experience so that you’ll be better equipped the next time you face life’s hardships again?

Look in the mirror

In the journey towards self-improvement, reflection is your best friend. Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself, “How am I doing today?” This lets you make room to check where you are now compared to yesterday.

They say that a knight in shining armor is a knight whose armor hasn’t been truly tested. All of the little imperfections in your armor are signs that you survived and maybe conquered many hurdles in your journey. Embrace the imperfections, and enjoy the little successes you make each day you reflect.

Focus on yourself

It’s easy to be disappointed when you compare yourself to someone just as young or old but more successful. What that doesn’t tell you are the significant efforts and sacrifices someone made to become the “success” you see them as.

Rather than focusing on others’ successes, focus on your growth and your wins. It feels better to see yourself one level better than yesterday, and that’s the only comparison that matters. If you’re learning how to cook, being able to cook a sunny-side-up egg when you can barely operate the stove before is a win, and you should be proud.

As we observe October 10 as Mental Health Day, let us take extra care and time to focus on ourselves. Remember that to be able to give safe space to others. We should be our own safe space first ❤️.

 

 

Session Questions

  • Pre-Q: What’s one thing you did for yourself today?
  • Q1: What does it mean to be “kind to yourself?”
  • Q2: What do you imagine a society of kindness would look like?
  • Q3: How can communities teach kindness to their people?
  • Post-Q: Send yourself a message of love for tomorrow.

References:  

[1] World Health Organization. (2022). World Mental Health Day 2022. https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/2022

[2] United Nations Children’s Fund (2018, September 24). We have learned to love ourselves, so now I urge you to “speak yourself.” [Press release]. https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/we-have-learned-love-ourselves-so-now-i-urge-you-speak-yourself

[3] Schaedig, D (2020, Aug 24). Self-fulfilling prophecy and the pygmalion effect. Simply Psychology. www.simplypsychology.org/self-fulfilling-prophecy.html

[4] Dickinson, J. K., Guzman, S. J., Maryniuk, M. D., O’Brian, C. A., Kadohiro, J. K., Jackson, R. A., D’Hondt, N., Montgomery, B., Close, K. L., & Funnell, M. M. (2017). The Use of Language in Diabetes Care and Education. Diabetes Care, 40(12), 1790–1799. https://doi.org/10.2337/dci17-0041

[5] Riegel, B., Dunbar, S. B., Fitzsimons, D., Freedland, K. E., Lee, C. S., Middleton, S., Stromberg, A., Vellone, E., Webber, D. E., & Jaarsma, T. (2021). Self-care research: Where are we now? Where are we going? International Journal of Nursing Studies, 116, 103402. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2019.103402

[6] 15 proven ways to fall in love with yourself | Tony Robbins. (n.d.). https://www.tonyrobbins.com/ultimate-relationship-guide/how-to-fall-in-love-with-yourself/



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