Tenderness:  "Speak gently to yourself. Cherish the child within." ~ Cheryl Richardson

Kitty Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT, RScP | Your Career "Makeover" Coach


For today's video message, click here.

Cheryl Richardson, Life Coach, is the New York Times best-selling author of The Art of Extreme Self-Care along with Take Time for Your Life and Life Makeovers. Additionally, she has authored Self-Care Cards that bring 52 practical ways that we can each honor our own self-care. Today's message is based on the card I drew for this week which is entitled, "Tenderness." On the back of the card, it reads, "Speak gently to yourself. Cherish the child within."

If you have a child or a grandchild, you probably love that child (or children) with every fiber of your being. You love them unconditionally. It is impossible to imagine that they could do anything that you wouldn't forgive because you love them with every fiber of your being.

When it comes to yourself, however, you may well be your harshest critic. Unconditional love for yourself? No way!

We tend to beat up on ourselves a lot, don't we? We compare ourselves to what we perceive to be other people's successes, and we inevitably measure up short in some way. Ironically, we have no way of knowing what struggles they may be facing. Sometimes things are not as they appear. Perhaps the person you think has it "made" has just learned of a bad prognosis or the loss of a loved one. Perhaps they are going through the loss of a relationship, or they are dealing with a financial blow. We just don't always know.

In the back of our heads, however, we each have a running inner dialogue that never shuts up. It tells us we just aren't any good as everyone else, or we just aren't "good enough." We battle our harsh inner critic and worry way too much about what others might say about us. We forget that those others that we fear so much are not paying attention to us in the way that we think they are. They are, instead, beating up on themselves...because that is what we all do.

I like the simple message of today's card, however. "Speak gently to yourself. Cherish the child within."

I shared in the video that I was lucky enough to have been loved unconditionally by my father. I remember the exact moment when he demonstrated that love for me. I am also aware that not everyone has been fortunate enough to have had the experience of unconditional love on the part of a parent or grandparent. As a result, they often go through life looking for someone else to fill the void that is in their heart...when the real answer is that you can fill the void yourself. Indeed, you need to be the one to fill the void. You need to learn to love yourself totally, completely, and unconditionally.

Does that mean you have to be perfect? Heck no! No one is ever going to achieve perfection...what would be the point of that? Life is a journey, and it is about learning the lessons that we were placed here to learn, don't you think? I know I am still learning every single day. The one lesson I have learned, however, is that looking for someone else to fill the void for you is a fool's errand. My dad has been gone 30 years this year. I still remember that he loved me and how he demonstrated unconditional love for me, so I know what it feels like, but I do not go around looking for it from outside sources. Instead, I have learned to nurture myself through the practice of extreme self-care...and that I what I recommend for you as well.

Recall the child that you were...that deep inside you still are. Recognize your tender spots. Cherish the experiences that you had as a child that created the adult you are now. Instead of criticizing that child, however, be tender with it. "Speak gently to yourself."

When you can learn to love and cherish yourself, you will be in the position of being better able to love others unconditionally and without judgment. At the end of the day, I believe that is the real lesson we have come here to learn. Remember what Jesus said. "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." It is the second Commandment. He recognized and he taught that the love we have--that we should have--for ourselves needs to be extended toward others so that we might truly enjoy "peace on Earth."

Inner peace is what many of us yearn if truth be told. We yearn to experience feeling "whole." We long to feel "complete." I believe, however, that we should strive to embrace our imperfections and to be okay with who we are just as we are. 

If you have trouble being tender with yourself, perhaps you can make that a project. It is important, so don't think that being your harshest critic is something you need to continue to do. You don't. Let that habit go!

"Speak gently to yourself. Cherish the child within." You will be glad of it.

Until next time.


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Vanessa Jackson
Phoenix Rising Coaching
1541 Flaming Oak
New Braunfels Texas 78132
United States of America