Why are we so self-critical?
Why do some people find it hard to show self-compassion, as it is really not dissimilar to displaying compassion to others?
Compassion is something that involves our feelings, thoughts, motives, desires, urges, and behaviours that are directed towards individuals, groups and animals. To have compassion for others, you need to be aware of their suffering. Compassion involves understanding, caring, showing kindness, a sense of good feelings and being non-judgemental when seeing others suffer, acknowledging that you feel their pain in some respects and having a desire to help them in some way.
So when we talk about self-compassion, we mean showing ourselves the same internal process, self-caring, self-kindness, self-compassion that we would express towards another. Self-compassion is good for the soul, our own positive mental health and well-being.
Let’s face it, we all experience pain, losses, hardships, frustrations and make mistakes at some point in our lives, no one is perfect. Guaranteed we all self-criticise, self-judge or are confronted with our own difficulties. Humans know that not everything will go according to plan all of the time but life is too short to be continuously hard on ourselves. What we need to do is to find equilibrium.
Self-compassion involves having an internal awareness when struggling with pain or any life challenging situation. Normalise the pain or suffering that you are experiencing, recognise that it is taking place and know that it is not uncommon. We are all familiar with some type of pain or struggle, at some point throughout our lives. Be kind to yourself and give yourself a break, show some self-compassion when meeting pain or suffering head-on. If you don’t you will become stressed, self-critical, the cup half-empty and your general well-being, and mental and physical health will suffer. Find ways to alleviate what you are experiencing, have the strength and courage to take necessary action to deal with the problem you are confronted with, be the cup half-full.
Self-compassion is about directing your feelings toward caring for yourself, as if you were caring for someone else. Focus your energy on how you can make positive change and improve your own pain, losses or negative experiences. This isn’t something that you can change overnight; it is a mindfulness skill that takes a lot of effort and practice, a positive outlook, changing your attitude toward yourself when times are tough. Give yourself some self-love and kindness, you deserve it.