Easing into Self-compassion

Who is the biggest critic of yourself?

Chances are its not your partner, kid or parent, its you! It can be such a struggle to wind down the constant inner critic and judgment you have for yourself. Over time this can lead to lower feelings of self-esteem, anxiety and depressive feelings. Some self-criticism might sound like “you never do anything right” or “that was so stupid! What is wrong with you?” or “You should be exercising more often.” Does this sound familiar?

One way to quiet the self-criticism is to increase your self-compassion. It is a different approach to your internal monologue or self-talk. It is an intentional practice of choosing to acknowledge your suffering with compassion , validate your own feelings and reframe those harsh thoughts to something more supportive. Here’s an example:

Inner critic: “You never do anything right”

Self-compassion self-talk: “This is so not true, sure I make mistakes at times but that’s part of being human. There is a lot going right in my life right now and I know I can make it past this poor decision and learn from it for the future.”

Do you see the difference? See how that would feel differently in your body and in my overall wellbeing to talk kinder to yourself. It takes practice to make this shift. How can you do this?

A helpful way is to begin treating yourself as you would treat a friend, this exercise is from Kristin Neff who wrote the book “Self-Compassion: the Proven power to Being Kind to yourself.”

Please take out a sheet of paper and answer the following questions:

1. First, think about times when a close friend feels really bad about him or herself or is really struggling in some way. How would you respond to your friend in this situation (especially when you’re at your best)? Please write down what you typically do, what you say, and note the tone in which you typically talk to your friends.

2. Now think about times when you feel bad about yourself or are struggling. How do you typically respond to yourself in these situations? Please write down what you typically do, what you say, and note the tone in which you talk to yourself.

3. Did you notice a difference? If so, ask yourself why. What factors or fears come into play that lead you to treat yourself and others so differently?

4. Please write down how you think things might change if you responded to yourself in the same way you typically respond to a close friend when you’re suffering.

Why not try treating yourself like a good friend and see what happens?

Remember it will take time and practice to increase your self-compassion and decrease your inner critic’s strong voice. But over time you will notice that critics voice will get quieter and quieter until you only hear it at times. This will help you to feel better about yourself and hopefully decrease some of the anxiety and depression you are feeling.

If you are still struggling with beating yourself up, therapy can help . Reach out today at 984-500-2021.