Self-Compassion

Is your inner self-critic brutal?

My choices had led me to the present moment; I alone was responsible.  There was no one to blame expect myself and my inner critic was mindlessly brutal.  My inner dialogue would read something like the following: “You are so f’ed up! You are fundamentally flawed.’  Ouch!  Even as I type those words, I’m astonished by their viciousness.  The idea of self-compassion was completely foreign to me.

There are so many of us who are unaware of how cruel we can be; surprisingly not to others but to ourselves.  If a friend, stranger, or anyone for that matter, were in need, we would likely never respond with such cruelty. We might tell them that we are sorry, offer help, try to lift their spirits, and remind them that they are not alone.  We would likely respond gently with compassion and empathy, showing our concern and love.  If, in turn, we were to share our troubles with a family member, friend, or complete stranger, we would also likely be met with the same compassion.   However, when it comes to ourselves, we can be unforgiving.

Self-Compassion and Meditation

Therefore, it’s time to shine the illuminating light of awareness on ourselves and become conscious of our thoughts and the emotions derived from them.  For example, with every thought; neurons fire; chemicals are released into the body which result in accompanying emotions.  Suddenly, we can feel sad, anxious, or depressed while being unaware of how we arrived at that state of feeling.  For example, when my internal self-critic says I’m f’ed up, it’s not surprising that my sense of self-worth would be adversely affected.

The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Dr. Christopher K. Germer and Self-Compassion by Dr. Kristin Neff helped unveil my inner self critic.  In becoming conscious of the brutal internal chatter, the voice immediately lost some of its power; awareness acting as antidote to much of the poison.  In addition, the meditation exercises allowed me to observe myself at a distance; to gently notice my thoughts and their impermanence, and to feel the elevated emotions of self-compassion as I learned to show myself kindness and love.

Meditation Expectations: A post on the what to expect if you are meditating for the first time.

The Only Constant is Change. A post on meditation that offers a hopeful look at the future.