Self-criticisms accumulate layer by layer.
Have you ever noticed how often you criticize yourself? For many of us, it’s a kind of knee-jerk reaction: “I shouldn’t have done that (or eaten that, or said that)” or “Why can’t I be more like him or hear?” These little put-downs may not seem like much, but they can add up and negatively affect your self-confidence.
Small self-criticisms accumulate, layer by layer, like sand until they swallow you whole. Sometimes we make it worse by criticizing our self-criticism! This negative self-talk can be destructive to you and your relationships. If you’ve ever spent a lot of time with someone who has no compassion for herself, then you know how tiring it can be.
The way to begin to let go of self-criticism is to move in the opposite direction–toward compassion. After all, if you are able to practice the art of compassion for yourself, you will be that much more capable of sharing it with others.
The inner critic likes to whisper over your shoulder or from behind the curtain, but when you explore it for what it is and counter its criticism with love and compassion, its powers are quickly foiled. You’ll soon find that it ceases to be as toxic or potent, and begins to lose hold on your psyche. The result is a more confident, decisive you.
The next time you catch yourself engaging in self-criticism, stop yourself, take a step back, and ask yourself why you’re doing it. What’s the situation, what’s at stake, and why are you blaming yourself? Think about if the same thing happened to a friend and she came to you upset and blaming herself. What would you tell her? This will allow you to gain some perspective and start treating yourself with the same kindness and compassion with which you’d treat someone else you love and care about.
Join me for Compassion practices for Self and Others for the month of January 2021.
See my classes and events on the menu above.
To Learn More about Kuan Yin, the statue in the image, go to this link. There are various spellings of the name.
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