Move from Critical Thinking and Self-Criticism to Self-Compassion
At the moment our lives continue to be in a state of uncertainty at a global level. In response to this, you may be experiencing an increased level of self-criticism and critical thinking generally.
In my Mindfulness Courses, I only have to mention the term ‘inner critic’ and everyone in the room nods in recognition. It seems we all have an ‘inner critic’ who continually asks us if we are good enough, and for good measure tells us we are not!
And that’s in addition to the judgments we send out towards others.
How to Transform Self-Criticism to Self-Compassion
Your inner critic offers a conditioned response as it hangs out in your sub-conscious. It continues to churn out the same old types of criticism, with no helpful outcome. This involves yourself as well as those around you in life and the wider world.
So instead of sleep-walking on the orders of your inner-critic, choose compassion and kindness, towards both yourself and others, and notice far more effective results.
To start, bring your awareness to your thoughts. Notice that you take them for granted, that those self-critical thoughts are deeply entrenched habits.
You didn’t suddenly start thinking them. They may have been hovering around in the background for years, stored in your sub-conscious brain.
And then something like the Covid19 Pandemic comes along and you find yourself completely overwhelmed. Your inner critic has taken over, like a nasty dictator.
Steps to Take to Transform from Self-Criticism to Self-Compassion
- Recognise these patterns of thought.
- Intercept them with a sense of curiosity and ground yourself with deep breaths.
- Recognise that there could be a different way of speaking to yourself and to others.
- Consider how you could be more gentle, compassionate, kind and loving to yourself.
- Acknowledge that it may feel false and untrue.
- Tell yourself that you are reminding your brain that you can actively seek new ways and behaviours.
- When your inner critic is blasting you and negative thoughts won’t seem to shift, enquire within:
‘What do I need right now?’
‘What’s good for me?’
‘I always have choices’
‘How can I be my own inner advocate?’
‘What could I learn from this situation?
This places you in a better position where self-criticism doesn’t have the last word.
How Can I be Loving and Compassionate?
If you’re not sure what it really means to feel loving or compassionate, think about someone you love very much. It might feel natural to treat them with all those kind qualities if they were in a position of sadness or suffering.
Even thinking of a well-loved family pet can help you to recognise those feelings.
Treat yourself as you would someone you deeply love. And if that seems difficult too, how would you like to behave if you were being the best version of yourself you could possibly be?
A reminder: self-compassion is definitely NOT SELF-PITY.
How the Transformation from Self-Criticism to Self-Compassion involves a Bigger Picture
You only have to look at humanity right now and know that kindness, compassion and love, are the missing ingredients.
It’s time to change. And this effectively starts with you and me.
Can you transform your self-criticism to self-compassion?
Blog Post: How to be Your Own Best Friend
Place of Serenity Online Course to nurture self-compassion & kindness:
Be Kind to Yourself Course
Kristin Neff and Self-compassion
Joe Dispenza and ‘Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself’
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Guide