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learning how to be kind to myself

Be Kind chalkboard art in kitchen / jones design company Be Kind. 

The quality I admire most in others, the one character trait I wish for our children and the word I’d love for our family to be defined by is kindness.

My friend just told me this weekend that in a study of what makes marriages last, the biggest factor was kindness. Honesty, communication, love – these are all good things. Kindness is like all of these wrapped into one. It’s defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

Isn’t that the type of person you want to be around? That you want to be married to? That you want your children to be?

Flowers from The Bouqs / get $10 off your first order at jones design company I would say I’m a kind person – at least most of the time. I am friendly. I am mostly generous. I try to be considerate.

orange ranunculus and kale flower arrangement / jones design company At barre class a few weeks ago, I had this sweet moment with God. I became aware that although I am kind to others, I am terribly mean to myself. I say critical, inconsiderate things in my head without even realizing. I tell myself I must be perfect. That if I’m not perfect, I’m a failure. That I need to do more and strive more and work harder to prove my worth. That if I’m not able to do it well, I should not even try.

I actually say these rude things to myself! Things I would never say to a friend and words I don’t even believe to be true.

Orange ranunculus flower bouquet on desk / jones design company I love that the Lord opened my mind to recognize the ways I am unkind to myself. It has become a theme these past few weeks and a message I keep seeing/hearing time and time again.

Be kind. To others. And to yourself. 

orange ranunculus flower arrangement and yellow mums / jones design company Being kind to myself looks like a lot of things:

+ speaking truthful words to myself instead of critical lies

+ accepting my body and being grateful for strength and health instead of focusing on the flaws

+ filling myself with healthy, nourishing food instead of eating junk and then feeling even worse

+ taking time to quiet my soul instead of rushing through and keeping busy

+ laughing instead of taking life so seriously

+ spending quality time with my family instead of being half-engaged

orange ranunculus flower arrangement and yellow mums / jones design company While ordering flowers for my grandma last week (I like to do this for her every few months just to make her smile. See?! I can be kind!) I saw these orange ranunculus.

Orange ranunculus would look so bright and cheerful in our house, I thought. It’s so gray and gloomy outside and a bouquet of pretty flowers sure would make me happy.

So you know what I did? I decided to splurge on myself as an act of kindness and I ordered those orange ranunculus. It was such a good decision.

Just one little way I’m learning to be kind to myself.

I think I could get used to this.

What have you done for yourself lately as an act of kindness? I’d love to hear …

double-line-tiny P.S. I ordered the flowers from The Bouqs. This is my second time ordering from them and I’ve been so happy every time. Sending flowers can be ridiculously expensive and the arrangements are not even good! This is not the case with The Bouqs. They have classy bouquets and pretty flower/greenery combinations and shipping is free. So the next time you need to order flowers for a friend, your grandma or yourself, The Bouqs gets my stamp of approval.

Get $10 off your first order with this link.

(I spent my own money on the flowers and will definitely order again. These links are referral links so when you click on the link, I’ll earn a small commission. Much love to you if you do :) )

51 Responses to learning how to be kind to myself

  1. Prereeta February 5, 2016 at 9:08 pm #

    Rannunculus ( I hope I didn’t add too many ‘n’s)
    are my new favorites! And they look totally awesome on your coffee table.
    It’s so important to love and be kind to ourselves, it’s vital to forgive ourselves….

    Thank you for this post!

  2. Ashley February 3, 2016 at 8:51 pm #

    Hello-
    So i just ordered flowers for my grandmother’s birthday (thanks for the lovely suggestion) and tried to use your link. For some reason I only received $6 off my order. I’m not so worried about the extra $4, as I am to make sure you get your commission. I never would have found The Bouq’s without your wonderful blog. Great find by the way!!

    • emily February 4, 2016 at 3:34 pm #

      Hmm. that’s weird. Sorry about that! I hope your grandmother enjoys the flowers!

      • Sarah February 5, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

        Same here….I’m wondering if maybe its just 10% off vs $10 off….when I put something in my cart worth 70, it gives 7 off. Its a mystery!

  3. Gayle Miller January 30, 2016 at 6:09 pm #

    The enemy is always telling us lies, to take our focus off of Jesus. I’m sure you understand this already, but as women and mothers we often put ourselves last. Jesus never said that we should love our neighbor MORE than ourselves. There are no extra points for berating ourselves. When we are kind to ourselves, others respond “in kind”. I am 66 and I am in awe of all you do in addition to raising four children, but I also still hear that critical voice. When I do, I start singing songs of praise. Like the old hymn says, “turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full on his Wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His Glory and Grace.

  4. Jill January 30, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    This is so good! Thank you for sharing your heart Emily. I’ve been getting repeated messages this week about kindness so I’m thinking God is trying to tell me something. :) As always, a beautiful spot here on the blog by a beautiful person, inside and out.

  5. Megan January 29, 2016 at 9:23 pm #

    Thanks for sharing what the Lord is showing you!
    On a not so spiritual note, where did you get your chalkboard? I’ve been looking for one but it’s hard to find a chalkboard that erases well and isn’t just made for writing on it once.

    • emily February 1, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

      The chalkboard is a semi-diy you can see here: https://jonesdesigncompany.com/create/simple-diy-chalkboard/

  6. Meggles January 28, 2016 at 2:40 pm #

    I’ve been thinking something similar lately. I think for mothers, the nuclear label is “bad mother”. I don’t think this about other mothers whose kids watch too much TV, or who don’t read to their kids every single day. But I think it about myself. In fact, I tell myself I am a bad mother almost every day, and not surprisingly, it makes me feel terrible and sad. I am NOT a bad mother. I love my kids so much. I am kind and loving to them, and do a whole slew of things to boost their development and help them grow into the best version of themselves. They adore me. I let slip a few weeks ago that I didn’t feel like a good mother. My 6-year-old was totally shocked. ” Mommy, why would you think that?? You’re so nice!”. I need to stop telling myself this lie. More accurately, the Enemy wants to rob our joy. I won’t be complicit in that anymore.

    Thanks for this.

  7. Amy @ The Daily Hostess January 28, 2016 at 7:55 am #

    Great post, and something we all need to get better at. I loved that you showed kindness to yourself by buying flowers! I recently had a bouquet at home I picked up from Costco and they just made me so happy!

    • Kelly B. January 28, 2016 at 8:28 pm #

      Emily this is such a great blog post! As a 53 -year-old wife/mother with now grown children, I think it’s so insightful of you ( or gracious of God to enlighten you ) of this while your children are still so young! Hold fast to this awareness and be kind to yourself every day! In not so many years, your children will be gone, and it’s no fun to look back and see that you were kind to everyone BUT yourself! I’m guilty of that, and I’m working really hard now to be kinder to myself! It’s really hard to break those habits and Satan is always whispering in my ear to present that perfect picture to the world! This gets my wheels spinning for all those things that really aren’t important! Thanks again for the post and the reminder that all ladies need to be kind to themselves! I will be buying myself flowers tomorrow! ?

  8. Hannah January 27, 2016 at 10:02 pm #

    This cheered me up today, and slowed my racing mind, thank you.

  9. Julie January 26, 2016 at 10:12 pm #

    Love that orange flowered notebook/journal
    Where did you get it?
    Thanks

    • emily January 27, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

      The floral journal is from Rifle Paper. https://riflepaperco.com/shop/journals/mint-floral-smyth-sewn-journal/

  10. Cindy January 26, 2016 at 4:46 pm #

    Thank you for the insightful post and the discount link! LOVE the rununculas! Such a cheerful pop of color. Orange is my favorite color. I just sent a deluxe bouquet to my niece. What size bouquet did you order? Looks like you have about 3?

    • emily January 26, 2016 at 8:41 pm #

      I bought the biggest one – it came with three small bouquets. I used two in the living room and one in my office!

  11. katelyn ryan January 26, 2016 at 11:57 am #

    love this truth.

    i just shared a print i made of psalm 100:3 on my blog: http://www.katelynryan.com/2016/01/psalm-1003.html

  12. Lynn January 26, 2016 at 6:31 am #

    Hello Emily – I’ve ordered from Bouqs a number of times and have been extremely happy with both the flowers and the service. I live in Australia and when I want to send flowers to family and friends in the States, I use Bouqs. I can only rely on word of mouth (and photos) but the flowers have been lovely. So much better than those AWFUL and EXPENSIVE arrangements (that haven’t changed from the 80’s). I wish we had a Bouqs here! I too have been trying to justify the expense of weekly flowers to perk up my home (mostly from the grocery store). Even at $10 I second guess myself. Anyway, kind can be hard. We all just have to keep trying.

    • emily January 26, 2016 at 9:55 am #

      I feel the same way. Maybe grab an orchid the next time you’re out and happen to see one. For about $20, they last for months! Or try a fern or other pretty greenery. Something living and fresh just makes a home happier!

  13. Amy Trimble January 25, 2016 at 5:53 pm #

    Beautifully written. I really really needed to hear this. God is using you in a mighty way.
    Thank you

    • emily January 26, 2016 at 9:55 am #

      Thank you, Amy!

  14. Jennifer January 25, 2016 at 5:12 pm #

    I always believe that God places the things we need most in our path at the right time. This post was one of those things. I was recently diagnosed with reflux and a lactose intolerance. It has not been fun figuring out new ways to eat and prepare meals for my family. Whenever my symptoms flair up I feel like I’ve failed and the negative self-chat begins. I am trying to educate myself on the best course of action and it takes time. Only I would like all the answers as to what my triggers are now! today! That and I truly miss CHOCOLATE…

    I wouldn’t say these things to anyone else but yet I have no problem berating myself. So your post today was timely and very fitting so thank you.

    • emily January 26, 2016 at 9:56 am #

      Oh, I’m so sorry. This must be tricky and frustrating! You’ll get there … and yes, be kind to yourself :)

  15. LInda Smith January 25, 2016 at 4:40 pm #

    I saw where you got your journal… but where did you get the spiral notebook in the picture? Thanks so much…. love this post and your blog.

    • emily January 26, 2016 at 9:57 am #

      The spiral notebook is from the art store – just a plain sketch journal – that I covered with pretty paper and washi tape. I did one with my daughter, too. Here is how we did it: https://jonesdesigncompany.com/create/covered-journal-a-simple-diy-with-audrey/

  16. Annalee January 25, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

    I have realized that I can be really, really legalistic– and Jesus is showing me, more and more, that “He’s got it” (I don’t need to carry a heavy load of ‘I gotta do this perfectly’), He delights in me (something that humbles me and makes me teary-eyed every time I really think about it), and that I am His Child, not just His servant (John 8:35-36). A lot of this truth has been spoken through His Word, and others; I realize that I, too, can be my ugliest enemy. But, I’m His– not mine. Praise Him for that.

    This may seem kind of silly, and maybe even weird, but one way in which I’m too hard on myself is that I won’t let myself rest– as in take naps, take some time to read a non-spiritual book, and so on. I got up early this morning to do my devotional, and afterwards, being very sleepy, I wanted to take a nap in one of the new, comfy recliners my family has bought. I almost thought that I shouldn’t– that I should fight off the fatigue and clean/be productive instead– when I glanced at a note I left in my bible. It read: “The LORD replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest'” (Exodus 33:14). It was so amazing, and so sweet, to receive that beautiful, grace-filled, rest-filled Word; and that’s just what I did– rest.

    Our Jesus is so much more gracious, slow to anger, compassionate, and quick to forgive than we are to one another, and to ourselves, as you said. Jesus, let us receive more and more of your Love and Grace, that it might spill out into the world around us. Amen.

    Praise Jesus for this beautiful post– thank you! It was so relevant. Jesus bless you :)

    Much Love in Him,
    Annalee

    • emily January 26, 2016 at 9:59 am #

      This is so true – and hard! We feel this need to check things off our lists and be super productive and we are WEARY! Sometimes we just need to let ourselves off the hook, take ourselves out of the race, slow down and chill. I’m with you, Annalee.

  17. Melissa January 25, 2016 at 2:44 pm #

    Thank you Emily for the heartfelt post. This post resonated with me right at the heart. Over the past few months I have been thinking about this and being kind to myself. I am so critical to myself and expect to perfect and if not I think I am not worthy. I have been reading a lot of spiritual books lately and getting back to the lord. Some how I have gotten lost.

    At the beginning of the year I decided to work on being kinder to myself. I am so giving to others by not myself. I have a piece of art purchased from Emily Ley that states “I will hold myself to a standard of grace not perfection” and I ready it everyday multiple times a day to remind myself it ok not to be perfect.

    Thank you again for the heartfelt post and all of your posts. I love that you are truly really to yourself and in is inspiring.

    • emily January 26, 2016 at 9:59 am #

      That is a great quote!

  18. Kim Grant January 25, 2016 at 1:58 pm #

    Thanks for the post today. It’s confirmation of my same self doubt which in turn messes up my priorities. A good book to read is “Crash the Chatterbox” by Steven Furtick. It will help with the lies we tell ourselves. Clearly, I’m still working on that! Kindness all the way around sounds like a very good plan. :-)

  19. Lisa January 25, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

    Wow, this really spoke to my heart. It is something that recently came to my attention- not being kind to myself, not exploring my passions, not feeling worthy to expect the best for myself.
    I am a medical doctor in South Africa( also mom of two boys) , working with mostly poor patients with severe financial and social challenges. I really aim to treat each with respect and dignity and let them feel they are worthy. Just being kind…
    And now also consciously being kind to myself- starting TODAY.

  20. Stacy January 25, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

    Thanks for the practical list of what kindness towards ourselves could look like. Sometimes ideas sound great, but it’s nice to know what is sort of working for someone else on a practical level. :) On another note, my husband and I had a disagreement the other day and we were being mutually cranky. I randomly said, “Want to be not-mad and lovey instead?” Obviously that is not the answer to every disagreement, but he said, “Yes!” and we were laughing in no time. Later he said, “Let’s never fight again. It’s so much more fun when we’re kind to each other.” Again, not trying to say there isn’t a time and place for disagreement, heated conversation, and even anger, but I thought….yeah….being nice really is more fun. ;)

  21. Kelly Hasegawa January 25, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

    Wow Emily, such a great post. I decided in December, my word for the year would be kindness. Since then, I’ve seen it pop up so often that I think it must be God encouraging me to remember my commitment LOL. I think too often we show more kindness to strangers than we do to those who are closest to us and we are definitely not kind to ourselves on a daily basis either. Thanks for the wonderful reminder!

  22. Kimberly Locke January 25, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYiM-sOC6nE
    Andrew Peterson’s “Be Kind To Yourself” song. I have played this for my 8 year old son when he’s starting up his “I’m terrible at this” chant about math during our homeschool days. It’s so encouraging!

    • emily January 25, 2016 at 2:18 pm #

      I just listened to it – what a pretty song with beautiful words! Thanks for sharing!

    • Jill January 30, 2016 at 11:36 am #

      Thanks Kimberly! I love it! I’ll have it on repeat this week for me and my (3) homeschoolers. :)

  23. Anca January 25, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

    Kindness – what a beautiful thing… I realised that I try to be kind to others, but not to me. Your post made me think about this. Thanks :)

  24. Kim January 25, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

    I am forgiving myself for embarrassing myself, nothing evil, just kinda stupid.
    I bought a sketch pad and am allowing myself time every day to practice drawing.
    Thanks for reminding myself I can be human.

    • emily January 25, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

      Those are so good. I need to be better about forgiving myself, too. Sometimes I think back on what i did/said and am so embarrassed. I don’t need to hang on to that.

      And yes! Draw!

  25. Anne January 25, 2016 at 11:57 am #

    Thank you Emily. I am humbled by your gifts and your shared truth. i am in a terrible funk… Berating myself for failures here and there. Most people looking into my life would never guess that I speak to myself with such rancor! But one sentence in your essay jumped up and down to get my attention…”things I would never say to a friend. And words that I don’t even believe to be true.” It is like a God hug for me through your words. Amazing. Thank you.

    • emily January 25, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

      That makes me teary. Let that truth really get into your heart, Anne. I’m in a funk, too, and part of getting out is learning to replace all those fears and lies with God’s truth. xoxo.

      • Stacy January 25, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

        That line also stood out to me. Somehow we are more clearly able to see that it’s a lie when we think of saying it to someone else, out loud. Lifting a little prayer for you, Anne. :)

  26. Talia January 25, 2016 at 11:47 am #

    Such a timely post! I, too, bought flowers for myself. I dug us out of the snow this past weekend (lots of sidewalk, walk ways and the driveway – ugh!) When I was at the grocery store, I saw a beautiful bouquet of flowers and bought them for myself. A thank you to myself, if you will. Thank you for such a great post! I agree – I should be as kind to myself as I am to others.

  27. Whitney Shortt January 25, 2016 at 10:30 am #

    Emily, thanks for sharing. This is so something I needed to hear, especially in regards to what I put into my body. I never thought of it as being kind to myself.

    • emily January 25, 2016 at 10:44 am #

      Isn’t that such a good way to see it?! Being kind to yourself, to your body, to your soul – this can be done in so many big and little ways.

  28. Krista Golden January 25, 2016 at 9:19 am #

    This was a fabulous read. Thank you! You spoke deeply to me. Life is moving so quickly by, this is a reminder to slow down, soak in the moment and be kind ;)

  29. gloria January 25, 2016 at 9:16 am #

    Love the theme of today’s blog post. I definitely related to this post. Thanks for the inspiration to be kinder to myself. I think the kindness will overflow to others.

    • emily January 25, 2016 at 10:45 am #

      I agree, Gloria.

  30. Amanda January 25, 2016 at 5:41 am #

    The flowers are beautiful and I love the message too. I need to be kinder to myself as well, and have actively been looking for ways I can be more kind to myself and to others in my day-to-day life. It’s still a work in progress but I’m so much happier when I focus on being kind to myself more often!

    • Danielle D. January 25, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

      Thank you Emily for such a lovely and heartfelt post. I have to say, time and time again, your post hits me right in the heart. Of course, your design and tastes are wonderful, but I most appreciate your willingness to get real and share your thoughts on life, faith, love and family. I’ll never forget your posts about your mixed feelings on Father’s Day (I too have a complex relationship with my dad), or all the compliments you have given your mother-in-law (as a mom to a son, I pray for a respectful daughter-in-law), or when you felt bummed about your kids’ cavities! ( me too!)

      I suppose we are all looking for something different in a blog, but yours seems to have a bit of everything I like! As a person who chronically unsubscribes to reduce my inbox, I am always happy to see your newsletters. Thank you for what you give!

      • emily January 25, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

        This is such a nice comment. Thank you! I love that you remember those past, insignificant posts and that they resonated with you (ugh to the tricky dad relationship and the cavities). I just try to be myself and talk about the things I’m thinking about and hope they relate to readers. XOXO.

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