I had to change the way I felt about myself and the way I felt about others simultaneously.

I think there are a lot of reasons why this is true. First, we all have internal conversations; we’ve all got lots of voices in our heads. And those voices usually represent real people. So self-care is almost like taking care of a whole bunch of people anyway.

Also, I just think it’s easier to learn to “be kind” than it is to learn to “be kind to others” or to “be kind to myself.” It’s easier to live out kindness as a principle to be applied to everyone.

I wonder, too, if we all just project so much that it’s impossible to end up treating others any differently than we treat ourselves.

OK, so why did I bother to write this?

One of my friends who is into personal empowerment likes to discuss self-talk like this: “You’d never say to a stranger the negative things you say to yourself.” And if you write down your negative self-talk, you’ll see that that’s true. You wouldn’t say to a stranger the things you think about yourself.

It’s a nice sentiment. It’s technically true. But it’s fundamentally false. You’d never say out loud the things you say to yourself, sure. There are a lot of things you’d never say out loud. But you do say them in your head. You think the same negative things about other people that you think about yourself.

If you want to change how you feel about yourself, you have to simultaneously change how you feel about others. And that means you have to change how you think. About everyone.