Can We All Just Be a Little Nicer to Ourselves?

Can We All Just Be a Little Nicer to Ourselves?
jacket // scarf // bag // jeans // boots

There’s something on my mind and I don’t know if anyone else noticed it. Maybe it’s a side effect of January and the New Year but there is something I’ve noticed with my friend group, acquaintances, and even strangers I follow on the Internet: we are being really, really nasty to ourselves. And I absolutely hate it. It makes me want to avoid Instagram stories altogether. (I should tell you I’m also talking to myself here, too! No one is perfect, especially not me and we all can slide into bad behaviors from time to time. )

Let’s back up. It’s January. Everyone is on a health kick. I’m on a health kick! You’re probably on one, too! I didn’t manage to make it a dry January but I’m eating mostly healthy, guzzling all the celery juice, and getting to the gym most days. But then I go on Instagram stories and see women – my friends, my relatives, strangers, everyone really… just completely punishing themselves and being so mean… to themselves. “Oh I was so bad last night” “Oh I ate this thing and now I have to live at the gym this weekend.” At first blush it seems all very innocent but it’s certainly not how we’d talk to our friends. (Could you imagine saying that to your best friend?)

Outfit Details: Topshop Coat // Target Scarf // Topshop Satin PJ Shirt // Paige Jeans // Chanel Tan Maxi Bag // Soludos Boots (my fav – so comfy) // Similar Sunglasses

Outfit Details: Topshop Coat // Target Scarf // Topshop Satin PJ Shirt // Paige Jeans // Chanel Tan Maxi Bag // Soludos Boots (my fav - so comfy) // Similar Sunglasses

I was out at an event on Wednesday with a group of bloggers, editors, and influencers. There wasn’t a vegetable in sight and alcohol was flowing. We all had a little pizza and pretzel rolls. Nothing terrible – a slice of pizza, a little pretzel that’s maybe the same size as a small meatball. I can’t even count the times I heard “Oh I’m so gross.” “I can’t believe I just ate all that.” This is not constructive behavior. (I say this, again, talking to myself – as I heard how “gross” my friends were, I felt the temptation to say that I too was gross but managed to abstain. But it’s hard, especially when a friend who is a smaller dress size than you are is rambling on about how gross she is!)

Here is something I’ve been thinking about. What if we looked at our bodies the way we look at our homes? When your home is a mess, you know you need to tidy it up and take better care of it, but you don’t derive your self worth from it. You don’t lament it constantly. It’s a thing that you’re working on but it isn’t everything. You know?

Or, what if we talked to ourselves the way we’d talk to our best friends? That’s another way to think about it. “Would I say this to my best friend?” If not, squash that thought.

Outfit Details: Topshop Coat // Target Scarf // Topshop Satin PJ Shirt // Paige Jeans // Chanel Tan Maxi Bag // Soludos Boots 

The point of this post is not to promote the podcast, but if you are struggling with body image right now or have fallen into the “I’m so gross” trap this week, I really would encourage you to listen to episode 34. We had Katie Sturino on from The 12ish Style. I took so much away from our conversation. She paints such a realistic picture of body positivity… body neutrality even. “Body neutrality” is when you look at yourself in the mirror and you don’t say UGH. It isn’t positivity (yet) but it’s a step in the right direction.

What really struck me was something she said about realizing there is NO END GAME. You diet, you exercise, you do all the things, you get to your goal weight. But guess what? You aren’t going to be any happier. Your happiness is not going to come from a number on the scale or inside of your jeans. Happiness comes from within.

So let’s cut the self bashing, let’s not punish ourselves if we eat a rich meal or have that extra glass of wine. Let’s just try being nicer to ourselves. Maybe make it a weekend challenge? I’m challenging myself to not say anything nasty to myself this weekend. Anyone else in? What do we think?

Have a great weekend (and be kind to yourself). xo

Outfit Details: Topshop Coat // Target Scarf // Topshop Satin PJ Shirt // Paige Jeans // Chanel Tan Maxi Bag // Outfit Details: Topshop Coat // Target Scarf // Topshop Satin PJ Shirt // Paige Jeans // Chanel Tan Maxi Bag // Soludos Boots 

photography by Lydia Hudgens.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment


  1. I know exactly what you mean, Grace. But it’s definitely easier said than done! I’m trying to be nicer to myself this year and stop the negative thoughts… step by step, I guess. 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    1.18.19 Reply
  2. Elle:

    Another incredible post, Grace. This is so incredibly true and makes me so sad. We need to love every single ounce of our body. We are all built so differently but what matters is the positivity we bring into this world. Thanks for writing this and bringing attention to this important topic. xo elle

    1.18.19 Reply
  3. Katie:

    Love this post! We’re so hard on ourselves. We all need more kindness. I’m in for the challenge of not saying anything nasty to myself. I often remind friends to be kind to themselves!

    1.18.19 Reply
  4. My take on this is you only live once and life is short. I say enjoy EVERYTHING and make the most of each day. So what if you have a drink at the end of a long day? So what if you indulge in an ice cream sundae late at night? SO-EFFING-WHAT?! Enjoy life, man 😀

    1.18.19 Reply
  5. Shannon:

    A better way to frame it with friends is – “I don’t feel so healthy right now, so I’m trying to eat better.” That said, enjoy the pizza and pasta and slice of cake and croissant and big cappuccino! But it has to be a balance for me or I just feel totally gross, like you said above. Not weight-wise, just healthy-wise. Good friends will understand that. I’ve also never understood Dry January. On Fev 1-Dec 31, you are “allowed” to drink everything you want again? Then again, I’ve never been a huge drinker.

    1.18.19 Reply
  6. Robyn:

    Thank you, Grace! I never leave comments, but I can’t resist here – this is so important. Being a woman in New York seems to exacerbate negative self talk for me, even though (or because?) we’re surrounded by so many intelligent, interesting, talented women.

    I spent many years focused on all the wrong things, and I can confidently say that the time was worthless. And that I missed a lot of joyful moments, like pizza with extra cheese, or a slow morning without compulsion to exercise. Embracing that joy today energizes me to do things that are *actually hard*.

    Cheers to you, and to spending our mental energy in awe of ourselves and in support of each other! Happy weekend!

    1.18.19 Reply
    • yes yes yes!!! Maybe New York does make it worse!!!

      Happy weekend Robyn, thanks for commenting!

      1.18.19 Reply
  7. Lisa Autumn:

    YES YES YES and YES! So important 🙂

    x Lisa |

    1.18.19 Reply
  8. Crawford:

    Yesss I love this! I felt this toward the back half of last year, so my only 2019 resolution is to GO EASIER ON MYSELF. Thank you for sharing!

    1.18.19 Reply
  9. Brianna Rooney:

    I love this Grace! I think I always maintain a pretty healthy lifestyle so I am not changing anything in 2019/ specifically for January but it’s ALL I HEAR ABOUT! It’s been so negative and it’s hard to support friends if they really want to make a lifestyle change if they’re just bashing themselves and living in the routine of “ohh I had too many snacks, need to workout so much more” over and over again.

    This weekend I plan to get snowed in, make soup, indulge in too many cocktails and read books and I find NOTHING wrong with that!

    1.18.19 Reply
  10. Christina:

    This is so lovely, Grace! You are so, so right. I hate the good / bad label when it comes to health or wellness. I’ve had that same experience where I feel so self-conscious around friends as similar commentary starts, and it’s so hard to remember that food / wine / treats should be enjoyable. A donut is just a donut, a salad is just a salad – neither makes or breaks you, and it certainly does not determine anything about you as a person. We’re all just doing the best we can – we all need to remember that. Thanks for sharing this!!

    1.18.19 Reply
  11. Rebecca:

    Love this Grace! I’m 18 weeks pregnant right now and struggling with the idea of gaining weight. Our entire lives we fight to be small and workout heavily, and then BOOM! You’re supposed to gain a pound a week, and you’re too exhausted to even think about the gym! Focusing on a happy healthy baby helps and encourages me to eat whole foods and get some slow walking in.

    Thank you again for your positivity and wishing you the best in 2019!

    1.18.19 Reply
  12. Nicole:

    Amen! I start each morning with a moment of gratitude for my body – giving it thanks for all it allows me to accomplish. The ability to walk about, the chance to eat what I like without any trouble (so what I’ve added a few pounds), the opportunity to experience each new day. And everything else that is pretty awesome. It’s been a game changer.

    1.18.19 Reply
  13. Something I really enjoy about being pregnant is how I practice this. I take much better care of myself because of the little guy I’m carrying, but I AM much kinder to myself. I relish whatever I eat – whether it’s a salad or Taco Bell – and don’t feel guilty about it. I watch terrible television or re-read A Discovery Of Witches for the millionth time with no apologies.
    I give preciously zero f*#ks – and it’s awesome.
    Here’s to keeping up this mentality post-baby, and for the long haul. Because if you’re not kind to yourself, how can you expect others to be?

    1.18.19 Reply
    • I love that. You sound like me, but with no child HAHA.

      Ps – need to see you soon!

      1.18.19 Reply
  14. Anne:

    I have a friend who says to me “stop being mean to my friend Anne” when I start going down a negative streak. It really brings my head up and makes me think about how I am treating myself. Also, I have struggled with issue around eating and food for most of my life, and I have also used exercise as a way to punish myself for what I have eaten, even though I am one of those weirdos who absolutely loves exercise. I try to remind myself of this mantra I saw somewhere, “Exercise is not a punishment for what you ate, but a celebration of what your body can do”. It always helps me have a way more healthy attitude about exercise.

    1.18.19 Reply
    • I really love that!!! It’s such a simple thing but a good reminder to treat ourselves the way we would treat a friend! And also what a good attitude to take toward exercise. Thank you so much for sharing.

      1.18.19 Reply
  15. The word gross made me cringe. I could literally feel that experience you described. It’s both heartbreaking and maddening. It makes me want to scream at other women and say “BE BETTER. BE SMARTER.” and yes I’ve totally been guilty of the same thing. Thanks for sharing my dear, xx.

    1.18.19 Reply
  16. MarciaMarciaMarcia:

    YES to ALL of this! I am on a mission to stop my friends from self-bashing anytime I encounter it. I also am so over any descriptions of food that include any sort of judgment. It’s fuel, some better at fueling you than others, but it shouldn’t have a moral component.

    I found out two weeks ago that my job is being eliminated. On the one hand, it sucks. On the other, I am already certain that it’s the opportunity I need to leap into something I’ve been wanting to do anyway, namely, starting my own fundraising consulting business. On top of it, my husband had surgery last week. He’s doing great, and thanks to the surgery should be feeling even better going forward. But the end result is that I haven’t even tried to worry about what I’m eating, drinking, etc. I’m sleeping, getting some exercise, and generally just trying to take care of myself.

    If you want to “clean up” your diet, great. If you don’t, don’t punish yourself. Same for anything else you’re struggling with. This world needs kindness more than just about anything right now, and it doesn’t mean much if we can extend that kindness to ourselves. So thanks for a great message Grace!

    1.18.19 Reply
    • Aw man Marcia, I’m so sorry!!! If it’s any comfort, my job was eliminated a while back when I worked for P&G and it ended up being so good for me. Take care of yourself!!!

      1.18.19 Reply
  17. Shana:

    YES to this post! I went to see the Rachel Hollis documentary last week and at one point she has women answer questions about themselves. One question was “I hate the way I look” check yes or no and almost the entire audience stood! She was crying. I was shocked! While I don’t love this or that on a day I don’t hate my body. We’ve been together a while and hopefully have years to go together so I try to nurture it 🙂 all of this to say yes let’s be more positive and practice it with others – brilliant post!! You are fabulous if no one has told you that today!

    1.18.19 Reply
  18. I’ve found this really bothersome in the past with a certain friend or two…we’d be at dinner, they’d eat half their food then sit back and go on about how disgusting they were…meanwhile, I was still chowing away! It always bothered me. I definitely struggle with negative self-talk and it’s something the people close to me are constantly telling me to work on, but I haven’t quite figured out how to tackle it…something to think about!

    1.18.19 Reply
    • Hahahaha yes!! It’s the equivalent of the really skinny friend complaining to their (larger) friends about how fat they are. Just stop!

      I really struggle with it too. I think it’s important to just acknowledge it and do your best to move forward and pay attention to when you are doing it and stop yourself. I’ve been having luck with that.

      1.18.19 Reply
  19. Agreed, and here’s an alternative take on why we do this: I think a lot of times, women engage in negative self-talk because what we’re actually worried about is what the people we’re with think of us. Even when we don’t actually care!

    I wonder how often women don’t really think they’re “gross” (or whatever label they assign themselves) and instead are worried that the people they’re WITH think they’re “gross.” So instead of allowing it to go unsaid (even though their friends weren’t thinking it anyway), they say it first to…I don’t know? Take ownership of some imagined awkwardness? Fit in to make it seem like they’re body conscious, too? Or say something that fits within the realm of these types of conversations because it feels like that’s how everyone else is communicating?

    I say this because I noticed myself behaving this way in the past with people I don’t know as well, or maybe felt self-conscious around for whatever reason. Conversely, when I was with my closest friends, talk like this rarely comes up—or if it does, it’s in a more honest way, like Shannon was talking about above.

    Maybe there’s some element of a friendship litmus test mixed within all of this. If you (not YOU Grace, just US generally!) find yourself amongst people where you feel you have to justify your joy and how you live your life, or even play down the joy everyday things bring you, perhaps it says something about the nature of those friendships and their ability to feed us in a positive way (no pun intended!).

    1.18.19 Reply
    • You are so right! Someone once told me that we should stop worrying about what the people we are with are thinking about because it’s rare that other people are really thinking about us very much – we’re all worried about what others think of us vs. thinking/judging others. That’s rambly but hope it makes sense.

      And I totally get what you are saying because I didn’t think I was gross for eating the pizza but then thought maybe I should say I was gross because everyone else was? I stopped myself but felt tempted!!

      1.18.19 Reply
    • Victoria your comment totally just reminded me of this – had to see if you’ve seen it!

      1.18.19 Reply
  20. Totally agree with you here and it’s something I see/hear all the time from other women that makes me really sad. Not even just about body image! I feel as though so many women are constantly punishing themselves for all sorts of things.

    I can’t stop thinking about this girl on the current season of The Bachelor (a show where I obviously don’t expect much female empowerment but still) who was talking about how losing her virginity before marriage “destroyed” her because she would no longer be “perfect” for her future husband. It really took me aback and has haunted me for days because it’s really scary/depressing to know there are women who feel that way in 2019.

    briana |

    1.18.19 Reply
  21. Cy:

    Yes Grace! I do feel there is extra pressure when you are young and I would say also being in New York. We on the coastal cities forget, not everyone is a slave to the gym or looks like a model. In fact, most of America does’nt. This kind of nasty self talk, does not help and if you have children, they are listening and you are giving them a complex! With that and the “impossible to live up to” social media celebs these kids are struggling! Thank you so much for writing this post. When my sister and I wrote our NY’s goals, one of them was no negative self talk. I wish more people understood that happiness comes from within. I think this is a constant for many of us and particularly women.

    1.18.19 Reply
  22. Katie:

    Long time follower and first time to comment – this is EXACTLY what I needed to hear today. I’ve been in a bit of a negative spiral after a weigh in at the doctor’s office yesterday. I LOVE your comparison to cleaning house – makes so much sense. Thanks for pulling me out if it and reminding be that life is about balance, not perfection!

    1.18.19 Reply
    • Aw I’m so glad that it was helpful. Thank you so much for commenting – and reading!!!! (Also those weigh-ins are the worst.) Sending you a big hug.

      1.18.19 Reply
  23. Kristy:

    I needed to read this. I am getting married this year and when Jan 1st came I put this huge amount of pressure on myself to start eating really healthy and working out more. I enjoy working out but I also love eating great food! And I should be able to do both without feeling so bad about myself. I am constantly hearing and seeing of these brides doing these extreme diets and I feel like this is a time I should be enjoying my life and not being so hard on myself. Thank you!

    1.18.19 Reply
    • I am the same as you – love working out but also love my food… and my wine too for that matter!
      There were a few influencer/model types I followed who were prepping for their wedding and I had to unfollow. The restriction is next level!!!

      1.18.19 Reply
  24. Amanda:

    This is why you’re my favorite blogger. The advice of not saying it to yourself if you wouldn’t say it to your best friend is spot on and makes so much sense. I was just thinking yesterday that January is literally the WORST month for new year’s resolutions/cleanses/diets/workouts/whatever because it’s cold and rainy and terrible and all you want to do is curl up with a blanket and a bowl of soup/stew/mac and cheese/insert warming comfort food here, but we’re supposed to be eating salad and hitting the gym every day instead? Um, no thanks. Thank you so much for promoting self-acceptance, positivity (in a realistic way), balance and moderation here.

    1.18.19 Reply
    • Oh my gosh I know. All I want to do is stay home and eat warm foods!!!!
      Thank you so much for the sweet comment, Amanda! Have a great weekend!

      1.18.19 Reply
  25. J:

    This post could not have come at a better time – thank you so much for such an honest and supportive post about being better to ourselves. No matter how much progress or change we’ve managed on our own, it’s hard not to get caught up in comparing ourselves to others when it’s in our face every day all over social media. I frankly might need an Instagram break myself 🙂 I have a ways to go to reach body neutrality, but posts and podcasts like yours are so instrumental in reinforcing positive thoughts and behaviors. Thank you for this today!

    1.18.19 Reply
    • I am so happy it was helpful!!! (And instagram breaks are always a good idea if you ask me!!!)

      1.18.19 Reply
  26. Jeanne:

    Grace, I recently began following your blog via Bloglovin’ and boy was the timing right! I have never commented on a post of yours before, but felt compelled to on this occasion. As women, as HUMANS, we really need to give ourselves (and others) more grace (no pun intended). Giving myself grace is my mantra for 2019. I have 3 young daughters and I really want to model behavior that will help them grow up to be inclusive human beings. No one is perfect (can you imagine how boring that would be?!) and we all have our flaws. It’s the FLAWS that make us interesting people. Good on you for withholding your “gross” comments during that gathering. Let’s be role models for ourselves and the next generation.

    1.18.19 Reply
    • I am so happy you found me! Thanks for stopping by and commenting – and cheers to being better role models!
      Have a great weekend! xo

      1.18.19 Reply
  27. Paula Atkeson:

    I read this post this morning (and loved it) and then came across this cross-stitch later in the day! Had to share here, since it is so in line with your message!

    Thanks for the self-positivity reminders 🙂

    1.18.19 Reply
  28. Talk about perfect timing on this post. So, I went to Becca’s focus group this week and right before entering the building I was being so rude to myself “I don’t belong here.” “Who do I think I am showing up to this focus group, where everyone is established in their careers.” It was to the point I almost sent a last minute email I couldn’t make it and I was literally downstairs.

    I am so proud of myself for going. Everyone was so nice, supportive of one another and it was so fun. I left with a smile, but more importantly with more self confidence and a nice you did great girl pep talk!

    Have a great weekend, Grace!

    1.18.19 Reply
    • I am so glad you went and that it went well!!!! I’ve done that before so many events. Thank you for commenting and weighing in. Have a great weekend!

      1.18.19 Reply
  29. Beth:

    I always enjoy your blog, but some of your posts lately — like this one and the one about break ups — have resonated so much. Thanks for the reminder to be kind to ourselves. xx

    1.18.19 Reply
  30. Andi:

    I love this – it’s so nice to see a post in on a new year/wellness theme that is NOT related to something physical or fitness or food related – those are important too but so is how we view our bodies and ourselves. Also, I need to take a brief moment to tell you how much I ADORE your blog – the variety of content, the realness, wisdom, format, layout, design, literally everything. I read it daily and feel like you are a breath of fresh air on the internet and the blogging world. Thank you <3

    1.18.19 Reply
    • what a nice comment!! Thank you so much Andi – you’ve totally made my Saturday morning!!!

      1.19.19 Reply
  31. Grace, so love the message of this post. You are right- we often are much meaner to ourselves than we would be to anyone else! Such a good reminder for the new year.
    xoxo, Jenna

    1.20.19 Reply
  32. I loved reading this Grace, and to be honest it was just what I needed to hear! I have been trying not to beat myself up about my body like everyone else seems to be doing this month – and I loved listening to that episode of the podcast (I definitely don’t love my thighs, but I’m trying to at least be neutral towards them). But where I have been failing is on my blog; I have been so plagued by feelings of self-doubt and not feeling as cool as the ‘popular girls’, that I have let it get in the way of me being productive and all my posts are sitting in my drafts because I second guess myself when it comes time to hit ‘publish’ (which is of course a self-defeating prophecy). So thank you for giving me a kick of motivation; of course I wouldn’t talk to any of my blog friends the way I’m talking to myself, so I need to just get over it and post 😉

    Briony xox

    1.22.19 Reply
    • Aw friend I hear you. I found myself doing that this morning. It’s hard but I really think by being aware of it (and identifying that the feelings, not our bodies, are the problem!) we will make progress. Glad you listened to that ep – Katie is the best!!

      1.22.19 Reply
  33. sara:

    Excellent post!

    1.23.19 Reply
  34. I totally agree with the idea of being nicer to ourselves and to stop seeing fault in all we do. I am going through a break up (as I know you are as well) and this is a huge mantra I am trying to keep up with — it kind of falls under self care. Self care to me, right now: is not to judge what I eat and to eat what makes me feel good. Either way, it’s hard not to be self critical. Love this piece.


    1.26.19 Reply
  35. Barbara Geiger:

    So funny that you posted this. My 50th (yikes) birthday is coming up, and the one thing that I want to give myself is acceptance. Acceptance of my body, my skin, where I am in life. I do everything “right”, eat, exercise, sleep, etc. So if this is the product of all that I do, then I need to find peace with the outcome and be happy with it and just stop beating myself up.

    1.28.19 Reply