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Self-Kindness for the Self-Employed

Updated: Apr 14, 2022

Self-kindness requires something often overlooked: self-awareness. Being kind to yourself, particularly as a business owner, can be a tedious task (mainly because you might not know how). A quick search on Pinterest will have you drowning in tips like: drink more water, get a manicure, take a walk, and enjoy nature.

Those are all wonderful suggestions, but temporary. Self-kindness is not meant to be fleeting. It is a series of actions and deserves to be recognized as such. It involves trusting yourself, setting boundaries, and standing up for your beliefs.

Learning to say no can undoubtedly be uncomfortable, but you must remember: it is healthy to set boundaries. You may feel obligated to say yes to keep the peace or please a customer, but at what cost? If something makes you uncomfortable, say no.

If a situation evokes anger or you feel bullied, say no. If you don’t agree with something, repeat after me: it is okay to say no.

Your time is valuable. Your mental health is valuable. Your knowledge is valuable. As you let that soak in, take a moment to read the four principles below:

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1. You must believe in yourself before anyone else will

People must buy you before they buy what you're selling. If you’re struggling in the confidence department, I hate to break it to you- it will show. Believing in yourself is incredibly important, not only for your self-esteem but also your credibility. Never forget that you are a capable, strong, and talented individual.

2. Know and honor your value

First and foremost, you deserve respect. That is not optional. On the contrary, you must respect others. Honor yourself by remaining transparent, honest, and ethical. Be punctual, follow-through with your word, and be an active listener. If you practice what you preach here, you will become a trusted leader and colleague. Come to peace with saying no. Feeling uncomfortable because you said no is better than feeling uncomfortable with the result of saying yes.

3. Allow yourself to make mistakes

If you’re not making mistakes, you aren’t learning. Do not view challenges as a roadblock, but rather opportunities. Sometimes (e.g. oftentimes) things don’t go as planned. Learning to adapt will be a stress reliever, and testing alternative solutions make you a skillful strategist! (And while we’re on the subject, you do not need to apologize for making mistakes.)

4. Take time to recharge

As a business owner, you may feel like you're always running on E. Unless you're hiding something supernatural- I'm going to guess you're human, too. Look, I get it. PTO doesn't exist when it's from your own pocket, but it is so important to recharge. Take that vacation you've been thinking about. Sunshine does the soul good! Unplug from social media. The saying, “comparison is the thief of joy,” is no joke. Being truly present is a stress reliever and a great reminder to enjoy the moment.

If you are ready to improve your overall happiness and wellbeing, give the above steps a try. Remember, when you reluctantly say yes to a customer, you’re saying no to yourself. Boundaries are not created to be mean; they serve as a tool for building healthy relationships. Think of them as a set of rules that designate how you expect and deserve to be treated. Honoring your values will reduce stress, and eliminate the risk of resentment. Each time you interact with a customer, you subconsciously send a message. It’s crucial to ask yourself: what message do I want to send? One of gratitude or one of discontent? I’ll let you decide. (Hint, it’s not the latter.)

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