Do you ever find yourself listening to your inner critic gremlin beating down your self-worth and self-esteem?
The other day as I was putting milk in the pantry instead of the refrigerator, I caught myself saying “what a goon-head!”
Maybe these sound familiar to you:
- “I can’t believe I just did that! I am so stupid”
- “OMG, I am such a idiot!”
- “I am such a loser”
Some of the things we say to ourselves, if we really stopped and listened to the internal chatter, is mean spirited and self-sabotaging.
Many think that the antidote to low self-worth and a relentless inner critic is to build your self-esteem. But author and researcher Dr. Kristin Neff challenges this assertion. She claims that self-esteem, while important, tends to manage your self-image through judgment and comparison of others. In other words your success and failure is defined by whether or not you are better than someone else.
In her book, “Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind” she writes:
Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?
So how can you best combat your inner critic? – With self-compassion, which is different from self-pity, self-indulgence, and self-esteem.
Through her research Neff finds that when you are kind, compassionate, understanding, and forgiving toward yourself during moments of failure, inadequacy, or poor decision-making, you will experience greater happiness, self-worth, and self-esteem in your life.
Again, she writes:
The bottom line is that according to the science, self-compassion appears to offer the same advantages as high self-esteem, with no discernible downsides. The first thing to know is that self-compassion and self-esteem do tend to go together. If you’re self-compassionate, you’ll tend to have higher self-esteem than if you’re endlessly self-critical. And like high self-esteem—self-compassion is associated with significantly less anxiety and depression, as well as more happiness, optimism, and positive emotions. However, self-compassion offers clear advantages over self-esteem when things go wrong, or when our egos are threatened.
If you are looking to tame your inner critic and radically transform your mental and emotional reality and well-being, dive into the practice of self-compassion.
Here are some tools to build your self-compassion habit:
1. Practice a loving-kindness meditation.
2. Journal self-kindness around a situation.
3. Talk to yourself as you would a friend. What would you be saying?
4. Recognize how your experience is connected to the human experience – no one is perfect.
5. Admit your mistakes and forgive yourself.
6. Asking the question, “what can I do to make myself happier right now?”
7. Treat yourself with respect. How does respect and kindness translate? Would the tone of your voice be?
Kristin Neff has compiled a number of wonderful resources on her website SelfCompassion.org.
Spread some love to yourself. Accept your weaknesses and at the same time celebrate your strengths. Rather than be in a constant mode of continual comparison and self-criticism, be open to the imperfections of your humanity and with self-compassion you will have the capacity to change.
I believe passionately in Kristin Neff’s work. The links below are affiliate links where I may earn money. I hope that if buy the book you will use these links to help support more work from New Habit Mindset.
Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff