Be kinder to yourself


I created this a couple of weeks ago after trying to take pictures of LaLa’s cat to send to her. I thought it would be fun to create my own little meme after seeing all the same images of Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka and the angry Persian kitty being used for all kinds of pointed and sarcastic statements for a variety of issues.

Sarcasm has really developed into it’s own art form and specialized communication device. It has transitioned from being the method of showing a character as mean and unkind to becoming the tool used to appear cool and superior. It is trendy and comedic, a laser of cutting wit designed to illuminate the failings and flaws of others in a no-holds-barred game of verbal and intellectual King of the Hill.

It is the preferred communication method of the cynical and jaded, walking wounded of our generation. Social, emotional, and spiritual death by a thousand verbal cuts.

It isn’t new. It’s merely the sophisticated, grown-up version of playground taunts. It is both shield and armor in our daily battles of social and relational interaction. At least that my perception of it.

Don’t get me wrong. I have wielded and wounded with rapier wit. Probably as much or more so than I’ve been damaged by it. I used to take pride in it. I used to admire others for it. It’s what we do to move through and survive in an unkind and unforgiving world.

However, as I have been moving through my healing and recovery journey, I seem to be losing my appreciation for sarcastic wit. Instead, I am experiencing mental fatigue and psychological pain whenever I encounter it. It grieves me to see it being used in direct and indirect ways, even when I am not the target.

Something I have noticed in myself and witnessed in others is a tendency to use sarcastic self-talk.

I had a brief chat with one of my favorite people, who is a generous, gifted, and wise soul – a beautiful spirit.

We had a communication glitch and it turned out an error had been made when she had provided me with the wrong email address. Once she realized her mistake, this was her response:

idiot . . . lol, multi tasking and fuck-ups good title for a post lol

This was my reply:

Um, you might be being a little harsh on yourself. Mistakes happen to everyone – idiots and geniuses alike. The difference is idiots don’t realize it, pay attention to it, or care about it. That doesn’t describe you to me at all.

A few days ago, while I was laid up in bed with my back pain problems, I began watching Shipping Wars on A&E. It’s a show that follows several independent shippers as they try to earn a living working for themselves by transporting unusual loads by underbidding and undercutting one another. As is typical for such shows, competing cast members have running commentary on the foibles and failings of each other and sometimes their customers.

The young man known as The Rookie, for obvious reasons, seems to make more than his fair share of costly and comedic mistakes that the others gleefully and snidely remark on.

As I was watching one episode, I made this observation:

“Life is hard. It’s harder if you’re stupid.” ~ Jarrett, Shipping Wars on A&E after getting a wrench stuck in the engine of his van while he was replacing his alternator.

Funny and sad.

A friend responded with, “It’s sad and true we bring much of our difficulties on ourselves.”

My overarching thought was this:

I think what was sad was hearing him say that about himself. We want perfection of ourselves and expect it, when the reality is that everyone makes mistakes and has judgments in error. We’re human, it happens.

We take in so many negative, demeaning, and undermining messages about ourselves not living up to the expectations of others, that we start believing those things about ourselves and, sometimes unconsciously or because it hurts less, we start repeating those messages to ourselves.

Another friend posed this question:

Why is it that that not just one person can change the world with just a look, a question or opinion anymore?

I replied, “I think each person can do exactly that by starting where they are in their own life and sphere of influence. If each person who wants to change the world begins by changing one thing in their world then the shift would wind up being experienced around the world.”

What if each of us stopped being unkind to ourselves with sarcastic self-talk? What if we started treating ourselves with more kindness by practicing P.E.A.C.E. within ourselves? What if we Practice Empathy, Acceptance, Compassion, and Esteem in the things we say and think about our thoughts, deeds, and words? Would that one little change affect how we relate to others? Would it impact how others respond to us? Might it have a constructive effect on how they relate to themselves and how they affect their worlds?

Let’s try it and find out.




  1. So much wisdom here, Kina. I love the analysis of sarcasm. Note to self, warn my sons about the power of sarcasm. I also love the piece on self-compassion. {{{Hugs]}} Kozo


  2. You’re right about being kinder to yourself; it’s something we all need to practice a little more. I use self-deprecating remarks on myself to help make me laugh at my mistakes (my favorites: Homer’s “D’oh!” and “Dumbass” from That 70s Show). It also helps remind me that I am human, that I can be as dopey as everyone else sometimes. That gets me off my ooh-I’m-so-smart high horse. I think this sort of humor does have it’s place; it’s when it stops being funny that a problem develops.

    Also, I love the LOL kitty! It’s Cheezburger worthy.


  3. A kind and thoughtful post Kina and so right it just shows how that can work in the opposite way as in your conversation with your friend. I have learnt something from reading this post and thank you for being the deliverer of the lesson.


    1. Diana,
      So nice to see your comment! I’m glad this resonated with you. You are one of the people I think who definitely deserves kindness and encouragement, since that is all I have witnessed or experienced from you.

      If you, like me, have had periods of time or momentary lapses where your standard operating procedure was other than this, it is in the past and not a reflection of who you are now or the best version of yourself, the person I sense you strive to be.

      Thank you for reading and commenting, it means a lot to know you are here and relating to what I’m saying.



Your feedback, thoughts, and input are appreciated.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s