Controlling the voice of the inner critic has been a repeated problem for many of my clients. They have reported feelings of wanting to kill the voice in the head which uncontrollably makes them feel bad about themselves. Having an inner critic myself, I have also tried challenging the critic to a duel, to turn up at dawn, pistols at the ready, only to find if I kill that part of myself, I will also kill my capacity to care about how I present myself to the world. The inner critic is an important part of who we are, we just don’t want the critical voice limiting our life.
Self-compassion is part of our self-esteem make up, not to be confused with self-pity or self-indulgence. Self-compassion is about being able to view yourself as if you were your own best-friend. By doing so, you can see the parts of yourself that you might not like, as simply part of the human condition.
Often people believe that criticism helps motivate themselves and others when directed towards them and thinking standards can be kept high and goals easier to reach. The importance of this is often because people see a direct link between self-worth and success. However if you are kinder to yourself and others you are more likely to reach the desired success.
New research from Berkeley University in California has found that acting compassionately towards others actually makes us feel better about ourselves. When we feel empathy for another person’s situation we become more aware of the ‘human condition’, thus being more compassionate towards how we handle our own personality flaws or situation.
One other nice tip for self-compassion is to give yourself a hug. Might sound a little odd, but it’s amazing how much better you can feel just giving yourself what makes you feel good from others. If you’re in public and don’t wish to look like a weirdo, simply put our hand on your heart and say in your head ‘I believe in you’.
A little self-belief goes a long way.