Treat Yourself Like a Kitten

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July 02, 2020

I’m going to do something funky today and combine my passion for cats and mental well-being.

Do you ever beat yourself up for saying something stupid? Do you get frustrated when you don’t make progress on your goals like you should?

As I’ve said before, be gentle with yourself. Treat yourself like you would treat a best friend. 

In case that analogy isn’t working for you, I’ll share a different analogy that I recently read: treat yourself like a foster kitten who hasn’t had proper socialization yet. Who can get mad at a cute little kitten??

If you get frustrated with your little kitten, just remember that it doesn’t know any better and it hasn’t been properly socialized yet. 

With lots of gentle care, that feral kitten will soon become a purry cuddle puddle. Yelling at the kitten or being mean to the kitten won’t help it progress. You can forgive your kitten for following its instincts, right? Your metaphorical kitten is doing its best with the tools it has!

You may worry that your kitten won’t improve at all unless you put pressure on the kitten. You may say to the kitten, “be better!” 

You may even give the kitten an ultimatum, “kitten, if you don’t go to the gym 3 times a week I’ll be mad at you and not give you any treats!” but the kitten won’t understand. It will only be confused and shrink away. 

I can’t guarantee that removing all your expectations of the kitten will improve the kitten’s motivation. But I can say that the kitten will be much happier if you take a gentler approach, and the kitten may even end up surprising you with its progress once all the pressure is removed.

So if you get upset with yourself for not being more motivated, remember the little kitten in your head. Being upset with the kitten for not doing more isn’t going to make the kitten more productive, but petting it and whispering encouraging words might.