One of my favorite quotes is by the author Henry James, who wrote

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”

It seems to me that people in farming communities really embody this spirit—they are kind, generous, glad to be their brother’s keeper, and will help you in any way they can.

Farmers are often kind and compassionate…until it comes to themselves. Why are the same people who will help you when your truck is broken or you’ve hurt your back during harvest not willing to show a little kindness to themselves?

Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is a really important idea. It is NOT the squishy, indulgent version of “self-care” you sometimes read about in magazines. Self-compassion is the idea that we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend. We don’t tell other people who are breaking their backs working as hard as they can that they need to keep going until they drop…so why do we push ourselves in that way? We don’t call others who made an honest mistake “losers” or “failures”…why do we talk to ourselves like that when something goes wrong?

Self-compassion is simply to treat ourselves kindly, not be self-judgmental, and remember that we’re all human and make mistakes. Or, as my friend often tells me “Just cut yourself a break, Anna.”

One Minute Self-Compassion

So what can you do to be kind to yourself?  Here are some ideas that will take less than a minute to do, and will help you feel more positive and less stressed:

  • Stop for one minute and think about:
    • One thing you are grateful for
    • One thing you have done well this year/month/week
    • One joke that always makes you laugh
    • One person who always makes you smile
  • Look up at the sky, and breathe deeply for one minute
  • Sing your favorite song (or at least the chorus) out loud
  • Stretch your neck, shoulders, arms, and back for one minute
  • Remind yourself that we are all human, all connected, all imperfect

I hope this week you can cut yourself a break; be kind, be kind, be kind (to yourself); and keep thriving.

To learn more about self-compassion you can read about the work of Dr. Kristin Neff who pioneered the concept.

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