We all can be our harshest critics. I recently made a mistake with my taxes and still am working to get it resolved. At first I was beating myself up and calling myself an "idiot" and continuing to chastise myself. I got more and more emotional and felt depressed. I realized that this was not helping the situation. I needed to work on solving the problem first and realizing that mistakes do happen no matter how hard we try to avoid them.
Once I began problem solving and taking steps to remedy the situation, I felt more relaxed. I eased up my harsh self-talk and reminded myself I have the ability to work through this issue and can get help when I need it. Acceptance of yourself and knowing that mistakes are a part of life can help get you through it with more ease. Self-compassion is recognizing the difficulties we face and learning to speak kindly to ourselves. Self-compassion is speaking kindly, lovingly and offering nonjudgmental understanding.
Here are some secrets to increasing your self-compassion:
1) Close your eyes and imagine your closest friend. See them making the same mistake that you made. They come to you for advice, what would you say to them? Would you curse them out and call them names? Of course you wouldn't! Speak to yourself as you would your closest friend. It can take practice but it is possible to do this.
2) Increase and Reframe! Make it an intention to notice your negative self-talk. Reframe it in a more compassionate way. Instead of saying "I never make the right choices, I'm a total loser." Say to yourself, "I didn't think through this situation as well as I could have, I will learn from this and move on." See the difference?
3) Forgive yourself, continuing to punish yourself and judge yourself for your shortcomings is harmful to your self-esteem and lead to depression. Focus on your strengths and continue to work on areas of yourself you are not happy with. “There is no sense in punishing your future for the mistakes of your past. Forgive yourself, grow from it, and then let it go.” Melanie Koulouris
It can take some time to overcome the bad habit of beating yourself up. Imagine how good you will feel when you practice self-compassion instead and remind yourself how that can boost your self-esteem. Over time it will get easier and can greatly improve your overall mental health.
If you are someone you know are struggling with practicing self-compassion, help is a phone call away. You can reach me at 919-618-6526 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment.