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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

They always say that your toughest critic is yourself — and there is no truer statement. It is impossible not to knit-pick everything about yourself when there is constant access to social media which has very specific ideas about how people should look and act. It’s also human nature to criticize our actions, feelings, and appearance. There is a tendency to compare ourselves to people we see online and in our real lives. The most important lesson I ever learned was that I deserve to be kind and patient with myself, and I think every person needs to know that too. So, here’s how to be kinder to yourself. 

1. Think about how far you’ve come

When I am having a particularly tough moment, I always ask myself if younger me would be proud of who I am now. The answer is always yes. Think about all the adversity you have faced to make it to where you are right now. You made it through many cringey phases, came into your own, made fulfilling friendships, and survived every heartbreak or difficult day you’ve ever had. You have had your own unique story and made your way through it all. There will be more hard days to come, more heartbreak, more adversity. After everything you’ve made it through to be here now, know that you can make it through whatever comes your way. You have persevered and deserve to feel proud of yourself for that. Be proud of your wins, no matter how small. Have faith in the knowledge that younger you would be proud of how far you’ve come and who you are now. 

2. Remember that you come from the earth

There’s a beautiful post on X by @yunawinter that says “if it helps to know, you are loved by the Earth who asked you to be here with it for just a very little while.” What are the odds that you, in all your uniqueness, would exist on this Earth right now just as you are? What a miracle that is. You are made of the same stuff as the stars, the grass, trees, and every person you’ve ever loved. That is no mistake, you are meant to be here, and so worthy of existing. If you’re ever struggling with thoughts about yourself that are unkind, go outside into nature — find a flower, touch a tree, take a very deep breath of fresh air, and I promise you’ll feel better. Be kind to yourself the way you are kind to trees and flowers and critters you see in nature. We all come from the same place, if they deserve kindness, so do you. The Earth wants you here. 

3. Understand that the burden of carrying shame is far heavier than the journey of forgiveness

Learning to take responsibility and forgive yourself for your mistakes is one of the most difficult things you can do. I think many of us carry heavy shame for every mistake we’ve ever made. That weight will drag you down until it is all you can feel. Do yourself a favor and lighten that load. Give yourself the empathy you give to others. Recognize that to be human is to make mistakes. Forgive yourself for the silly things like wearing jeans under dresses in middle school or the times you went to bed without brushing your teeth because you were too tired. But also forgive yourself for the serious mistakes you’ve made, too. To be human is to make mistakes, to be embarrassing, to do things without thinking first. Part of learning to love yourself is recognizing your mistakes, knowing you will try not to make them again, and forgiveness.

4. Treat yourself the way you would treat the people you love

Think about all the ways you work to make sure the people you love know they are valued. You likely go out of your way to make sure they feel seen and heard, you show up for them, you don’t judge or criticize them, and you speak kindly to them. Why don’t you do the same for yourself? If there is one relationship that is completely essential to having a good experience in this lifetime, it is the one with yourself. Nurture and protect that relationship like you would with a good friend, family member, or partner. Take care of yourself, do things you love, and above all, be KIND to yourself. You deserve the grace you give to those around you. 


The first step in becoming the version of yourself that you want to be is to be fundamentally kind to yourself. Have patience with yourself, be gentle, and allow yourself to move slowly when you need to. Understand that you must fill your own cup in order to fill others’. You will overflow with love and light when you give yourself the empathy you deserve. You are amazing, and I hope you never forget that!

Zoe Collins is originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado. She is a first-year journalism major at the University of Connecticut. Her dream is to work as an investigative journalist. Zoe enjoys writing articles about literature, music, and self love, as well as current events. Zoe is an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, and classic literature. In her spare time she loves to practice yoga, get tattoos, and listen to all kinds of music.