The Enemy Within
Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. (Hebrews 10:35)
One hears a cry for “Kindness” and I think, “oh please, can we be more shallow?” But then I read Gustavo Razzetti’s article, “How to Be Kind to Yourself: Stop Chasing Self-Confidence.” Rather than being dishonestly kind, Razzetti calls us to genuine self-kindness which is challenging. If we treat ourselves cruelly, we will not know how to treat others. He quotes Londro Rinzler, “Kindness is not just about how you treat others; it’s rooted in how you treat yourself.”
When one suffers under the burden of constant self-criticism, motivation suffers, and self-control is reduced. Bad decisions occur which leads to more self-criticism, which leads to more bad decisions. It quickly becomes a vicious cycle. Razzetti quotes Kristin Neff, “When you’re in the trenches, do you want an enemy or an ally?” Each of us has moments in the trenches, and those of us who are regularly self-critical are in those trenches with an enemy. That enemy is the worst part of ourselves.
According to Razzetti, the only way to make ourselves an ally is to “Reframe extreme self-criticism.” Judgmental words we say about ourselves are often exaggerations. Thinking through the criticism helps us realize we are being harder on ourselves then we would be on others. “Find a way to observe yourself through a kinder lens.” You would never hang out with someone who talked to you the way you talk to yourself. When you view yourself and talk to yourself in a kinder way, you become your own best ally.
Finally, Razzetti says that the more we show compassion to others, the more we begin to feel better about ourselves. Caring for others reminds us of the kindness that is within you. Today, reflect on whether you are your own best ally, or the enemy within. You are no better than anyone else, but that means you are also no worse than anyone else. Treat yourself with kindness, because you are worthy.