None of us is perfect. We each have our weaknesses. But how we view and address our faults can have profound effects on our stress levels and even our quality of life and connections with other people.
If we are overly self-critical, we can get stuck in behavioural patterns where we neglect ourselves. If you're driven by a harsh inner critic, you likely recognise many of these thoughts:
- What is wrong with me?
- How could I let this happen?
- Why me?
- I can't do anything right!
- If I continue like this, I will inevitably fail.
- I'm an idiot!
- A little child could do better than this!
- And you wonder why you don't succeed?
Commonly, people who frequently have these thoughts go on to experience emotions like guilt, shame, anger, and sadness. Have you ever felt this way as a result of scathing self-criticism? If you have, you're not alone.
Imagine instead that your inner voice is gentle, forgiving, and kind. That it understands you're not perfect and makes you stop to take care of yourself when you're hurting, rather than immediately trying to solve the problem. Imagine your inner voice cares for you and prioritises your wellbeing. Imagine it knows that everyone, including you, makes mistakes and that's ok. Mistakes are how you learn and grow.
How would that feel? Would it be a relief?
Well, this is what self-compassion teaches you. Self-compassion is about shifting your attention to taking care of your personal needs, even when you're suffering. So when you're confronted with your own weaknesses, as we all are from time to time, self-compassion helps you to trigger self-care practices.
Now I know you may be thinking, "but my inner critic motivates me to do things. Without her, I'll get nothing done." But it's important to realise that while self-criticism may be a great motivator, it does this through guilt and fear. And it's also associated with increased rumination and procrastination.
Contrast this with self-compassion, which is fueled by kindness, encouragement and optimism. You can still be compassionate to yourself AND maintain very high standards. But when you fail to always meet those high standards (which is inevitable), you respond with kindness and love. This can give you the energy and the motivation to change, learn and grow. It even reduces procrastination, which is often driven by fear and anxiety. Increasing your self-compassion can even help you to bounce back from failures faster.
In studies, self-compassion is associated with happiness, optimism, being in a positive mood, wisdom, personal initiative, curiosity and exploration, agreeableness, extroversion, and conscientiousness.
What could you accomplish if you reduced procrastination, fear and anxiety and increased your self-confidence and motivation to improve yourself? What would it mean if you could say goodbye to your fear of failure and instead embrace it as a "faithful attempt in learning"?
Rather than making you behave in selfish ways, self-compassion actually allows you to take better care of other people because when you're in a place of inner balance, you're better equipped to meet others' needs.
This course provides you with a set of lessons to help you exercise your self-compassion muscles and catch when your inner-critic is taking over. When you've completed it, you should be able to listen to and fulfil your personal needs, build self-compassionate routines, improve the quality of your personal relationships, examine causes of negative social encounters, and much more.