The Trick to Being Nice to Yourself

Like many of my selfie-induced, social media conscious, pressurized world-changers in the millennial generation— I am riddled with insecurity. We can point fingers at a variety of reasons, but blame never solves a problem.

I have tried working out, reading books on the subject, devotions that affirm my unique belovedness as a child of God, and other strategies to boost my self-esteem. Those are all good things, but my mischievous gremlin of insecurity still manages to find its way through the holes.

It is much easier for me to be nice to others, to see their unique qualities and affirm their gifts. But I can never do that for myself. So the best remedy I have found is to distance myself from myself. “Be nice to Kellie” I say. And a weird wormhole opens.

It seems weird, but this practice of treating yourself like a friend gives you enough distance to see yourself from outside your insecure head. Amy Poehler describes a similar concept in her book Yes Please.
“Sticking up for ourselves in the same way we would one of our friends is a hard but satisfying thing to do.” – Amy Poehler

If someone listed all the things I did in 2014 it would sound like a very adventurous and courageous person. I know because people have told me so. Watch:

I survived Chicago’s Polar Vortex, backpacked in Florida, graduated college, went to Disneyworld, spent a summer in New Mexico, visited four national parks, did three weeks of academic research in Sweden, got engaged in Norway, moved to Seattle, got three jobs, quit two, and read 30 books.

Even saying it to myself is hard to believe. Who is that person? In my mind, she is unafraid of challenges, an adventurous soul, thoughtful and ambitious. But if someone asked me to describe myself I would not use any of those words.

Brennan Manning wrote that “genuine self acceptance is not derived from the power of positive thinking, mind games, or pop psychology. It is an act of faith in the God of grace.”

Thankfully it is easier for me to believe in God’s grace than it is to believe in my worth. So I start with grace and work backwards. In the same way, it is easier for me to affirm others and have confidence in God’s love for them. So I pretend I’m a friend and again work backwards.

This post won’t be as long as I would like and I have already scolded myself for not doing it earlier. But if a friend of mine was attempting a 30 day writing challenge and posted something late, I would still tell her she was amazing for sticking with it and that she is a success no matter what.

So next time you are being overly critical of yourself, look to God or a friend first and remember that same love applies to you as well.

Do you have trouble being nice to yourself?
How do you deal with it?

Remember Your Value Today

Often I cry the hardest when someone says something nice about me. I think it is because those nice things are harder to believe than whatever pain I’ve been wading through. It is a sad truth, that our own value can be so unbelievable.

I realize that I’m probably not the only one who feels this way. We all need people in our lives who tell us that we are loved and appreciated. Just in case you haven’t gotten that recently, I would like to say some nice things to you, my friend.

You are incredibly special.

Kindness flows in your heart, your words, even the way you walk towards me. Your ability to feel the pain of others, sitting in the silence and sharing their burden with open ears, is a gift to everyone who meets you.

You see the best in people and the world, hoping beyond reason. I need that so much. Keep hoping, for all of us.

There is a spirit inside you that radiates to everyone else, inspiring adventure and excitement. You remind me of what it means to be truly alive, to grab life by the horns. I remember the thrill of living when I am with you.

I only hear from you every so often, but when I do it brings an ease of joy and comfort. Your ability to be present with those around you is like a warm cup of tea, soothing everyday worries to make room for deep breathes and gentle laughter.

The world is different from your eyes, and it takes a depth of courage for you to share that with others. When you do, you remind us all to think in bold new ways. Though your message isn’t always received immediately, once it reaches open ears it finds kindred spirits and ignites sparks of thought that can change the world.

Your knowledge baffles me at times. I want to sit and listen to you speak about all the wonderful things you have read and learned. Because when you speak I can see your passion, it widens your pupils and heightens your voice, infecting the air and everyone around with purpose.

When you meet people you have a wonderful ability to connect to them regardless of their backgrounds. You pursue people and remind them that they have something worth sharing. By asking genuine questions you help us to remember our value.

I could fill a reservoir with the droplets of wisdom you give me. You don’t keep this knowledge to yourself, even though you earned it through pain, loss, and heartache. Instead you offer it to others without being proud, allowing us to gather seeds we don’t even know we need.

Creativity has found a welcome soul in you. By bravely inviting it to lead the way and submitting yourself to it, you forge a road towards inspiration that we can all follow.

There is an incredible openness to vulnerability in you. Dashing aside fear, you demonstrate the power of honesty to tell a story that ripples across our shared humanity. Your willingness to share your life and experiences with others gives us freedom and confidence to do the same.

It is possible patience didn’t come naturally to you, but I can’t tell. Because you have a splendid ability to wait, to listen, to understand. This gives others the space to be imperfect and broken long enough to realize it for themselves, all the while in the safe company of a forgiving heart.

I am awed by how natural your generosity is. You give without being asked, offering care to those of us starving for attention. You plan and prepare, then sometimes you just show up in the moment, but it bestows love to every person lucky enough to encounter you.

Let’s also be real here: you are not perfect. But by living into your imperfections you demonstrate humility and strength. It is a comfort to all of us who are also broken, and when we agree to stop reaching for perfection we get to focus instead on being good.You are more than good enough.

You are thoughtful in ways that very few people appreciate, sending gifts with unique meaning and words of careful compassion. It is a silent, but powerful gift that lasts much longer than you know. You surrender these thoughts unselfishly, possibly never hearing the thanks. So I want to say thank you.

Thank you for being you, specifically gifted and unique and delightful in your own way. Believe these words and live into them, not because it is who you hope to be but because it is who you already are. God created you that way, and I am so grateful for that.

“Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for our selves, but our competence comes from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:4-5

Each one of these paragraphs was written with a specific human in mind, but as I re-read them I thought of several others who shared these wonderful gifts and qualities in their own unique ways. I hope you can find a sense of yourself in at least one of them. If not, please tell me—I would be happy to think of some nice things to say just for you.