Feature image: Grand Velas Riviera Maya

I’ve had a (fairly) regular yoga practice for just over four years now. I remember a lesson from one of my first classes very clearly: The instructor was talking about the importance of being kind to yourself, and she said something like, “if you’re hard on yourself, how do you think you will be towards others?” This has stuck with me; I’ve realized that the way we treat people is often a reflection of how we treat ourselves. If you’re hard on yourself, you’re likely to be hard on others. This works the other way as well; how someone treats you often speaks volumes about their internal struggles and joys. My lifetime practice is to not take anything personally (and it is truly a practice, some days are better than others).

It’s far too easy to be overly self-critical and hard on yourself, especially when you’re learning new skills, like writing, photography, filmmaking (and particularly if you’re getting pitches rejected!). Of course being critical is important, but this also needs to be balanced with gentleness and kindness toward yourself. Try this. Take a moment to think about your internal conversation with yourself as you’re working your way through the courses. See if you can soften. Pat yourself on the back for taking a step toward your goals/dreams, congratulate yourself for making it as far as you are right now, appreciate the supportive community in here and also out there that’s pushing you along. Appreciate and say thanks to yourself. You might be amazed at how the world looks afterwards.