How does the dialogue that we have with ourselves sound like? Have a listen. The first step is to check, just to notice what it going on. Quite often, the voice that’s in our head we accept without question – irrespective of whether there’s any basis in that thought. Particularly where those statements that are self-critical, that put us down. We might even use previous experiences where things haven’t worked out as evidence. That we’re not loveable, that we can’t, it’s too risky or not worth trying. All these types of statements help us build self-imposed barriers, that further chip away our self confidence, keeping us small or in fear.
If you have a self-critical voice, all isn’t lost. It certainly isn’t a case of just saying think positively – because that wouldn’t be what you are used to. While you know that voice is there, we have a choice whether to believe it. Also practising compassion can be helpful, to ease and reassure the insecure mind. When we are used to beating ourselves up, here’s an exercise in self-compassion. Imagine a good friend that had this self-critical dialogue. What would you say to them? That dialogue would be encouraging, supporting and kind. If we are in the same situation as a good friend, then those kind words can be used to reassure ourselves. It’s self-soothing practice.
It is often said that it is easier to be kinder to others than we are to ourselves. We would all have higher levels of wellbeing if we gave to ourselves the kindness we give to others. When the critical voice flares up like a bully, we can respond with compassion. The compassionate voice help us to move forward, to gain the courage to face our fears. It’s an opportunity to embrace and grow our confidence, to realise our potential. Where would the impact of your self compassion take you?