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Learning to Be Kind to YourselfSample

Learning to Be Kind to Yourself

DAY 1 OF 4

How Do You Talk to Yourself? 

That was an unkind thing to say.

That was a dumb idea.

Why can’t you be more patient?

How could you forget to do that?

Why are you so judgmental toward others?

These are some of the things I say to myself—virtually on a daily basis. I never (okay, rarely) say such things to others. And certainly not multiple times a day. And yet: I’ve got an inner critic issuing a steady stream of these self-directed comments. I can get so busy beating myself up that it makes it difficult sometimes to differentiate between actions that are a part of living in a human body on this earth (forgetting my keys) and actions that cause harm to others (loudly expressing impatience for slow service at a restaurant).

How can we learn to speak more kindly to ourselves?

The first step is to realize that most of us can get stuck in this sort of negative cycle of self-judgment. We’ve been leasing an apartment in our brains to this inner critic for too many years. It could be a life-long pattern. It could be a cycle that you learned as you internalized the voice of a parent or a teacher or a pastor early in your life. It could be that it is still reinforced by someone in your life who tells you negative things about yourself.

When you find yourself lapsing into negativity, then what do you say to yourself? Something more negative? 

Here’s an idea: Don’t berate yourself more! For example, sometimes I find my mind wandering to negative thoughts about others. I notice this tendency, and I wonder why I can’t meet each person with grace and love. Then I judge myself for being so judgmental! And none of that helps me to be better. So now I am a judgmental person who is also disappointed with herself.

Instead of beating myself up, I am learning to look to Jesus and offer myself grace—even in failure.

Practice: Notice when you have unkind thoughts about yourself. Offer those thoughts to the “God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). Listen for God’s compassionate voice.

Day 2

About this Plan

Learning to Be Kind to Yourself

Many of us are troubled by a stream of negative thoughts. But Scripture offers hope, beauty, and comfort. This four-day reading plan points the way to greater self-compassion as we learn to see ourselves through the eyes...


We would like to thank InterVarsity Press for providing this plan. For more information, please visit:

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