Many individuals avoid engaging self-compassion because of the fear of being “too easy” on oneself or giving oneself an excuse to continue engaging in destructive behavior. Unfortunately, this often leads to constant self-criticism and negativity, which creates a faux sense of productivity and does not motivate one to action. The truth is that self-criticism does the complete opposite of motivate oneself. Instead, it leads to a low sense of self-efficacy (confidence in one’s abilities), increased anxiety & depression symptoms, and low self-esteem. The problem with being self-criticism is that it does not allow an individual the permission to fail and holds one to standards that can never be met.
The antidote to self-criticism is self-compassion.
What is self-compassion?
- Treating oneself the way one would treat those that they care about
- Observing one’s actions without judgment and with curiosity
- Using self-kindness instead of self-judgement
- Seeing failures as experiments and opportunities for growth rather than indicators of self-worthy
- Reminding oneself that imperfection is part of the shared human experience
- Soothing and caring for the parts of oneself that one perceives as weaknesses rather than ignoring those parts
By learning to engage in self-compassion, you will increase your ability to respond to your emotions and communicate them better to others. In addition, self-compassion has the power to improve your sense of self-worth and motivate you toward positive change and growth.
Resources on Self-compassion:
Self Compassion by Kristen Neff
Video: How To be Self Compassionate in 12 Steps
The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions