Have you ever talked yourself down? I am guilty of doing that. My inner critic is often talking loud and clear in my head and worse yet – I am listening and taking notes. It is a terrible affliction as it seems to spiral into fear and self pity. Being caught up in our thoughts and stewing over pointless self talk only debilitates our actions. Negative self talk makes us weak. We literally cannot take action or move forward as our inner critic sabotages our efforts. We would never talk like this to our loved ones or best friend yet we do it all the time to ourselves. Positive psychology leading expert Kristin Neff, Ph.D asks us to shut down our inner critic by treating ourselves with the same kindness, warmth and support you would show a good friend. This is called self compassion. It is about having compassion for yourself despite your own perceived inadequacy, failure or suffering. To have self compassion you should be kind to yourself and acknowledge that what you are feeling is something we all experience. Finally, be mindful and fully aware of the present moment.
So what is the difference between self-compassion and self-esteem? Self-esteem is how we evaluate ourselves and it is often based on comparisons with other people. The problem is to gain high self-esteem, you might have to put other people down to inflate your own self worth. Self esteem is fickle – it fluctuates accordingly to your latest success or failure. Whilst self-compassion is simply compassion but directed inward.
It is important to take responsibility for your emotions. Where your negative critic can make you feel weak and discouraged, self compassion can moderate your feelings by generating feelings of forgiveness, understanding and love for yourself. These positive feelings trigger creativity, confidence and love for yourself. Priming you to be in the best possible position to face life. So next time you start to doubt yourself or kick yourself for making a mistake, call upon self compassion and your inner coach. Your inner coach will support and motivate you to keep trying – evolving into the best version of yourself.