learning to love yourself

How to Silence Your Inner Critic and Become Your Own Best Friend Through Self-Compassion Part Five

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Picture Courtesy of Shutterstock

Why the work we do on ourselves helps others too…

 

In her conclusion of the series, Tami Simon, the founder and publisher of Sounds True, eloquently describes the notion of projection (projection being an unconscious self-defence mechanism characterised by a person unconsciously attributing their own issues onto someone or something else) by going on to say that…

 

“the work we do to accept the unlovable parts of ourselves, to accept the actions that we take that we wish we hadn’t taken. That that work is not work that we’re just doing for ourselves alone. Not at all. It’s work we’re doing for the whole world and to quote Parker Palmer, he talked about how racism and homophobia and every form of scapegoating that we’ve ever known in the world, it comes actually from the part of people where they can’t accept themselves. ‘I have to scapegoat and put you down because you’re bringing forward something in me that I can’t stand to look at.’ So when we do this work of self-acceptance we’re actually liberating humans to be accepted for who they are. When we accept ourselves we can accept other people.”

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How to Silence Your Inner Critic and Become Your Own Best Friend Through Self-Compassion Part Four

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Picture Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

 

How to deal with shame…

 

One of the ongoing themes to the interviews that I saw surrounded shame – a destructive emotion that tells us we are something wrong as opposed to guilt, which is useful and tells us we’ve done something wrong.  I think that one of the reasons why shame was such a central theme in the series is because when we experience shame, our inner critic goes into hyper drive.

 

Brene Brown, an award winning speaker who has spent the past ten years researching vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame gave one piece of advice that stuck with me at a core level. Brene’s self confessed mantra is “don’t text, talk or type anything” when you are in a state of shame.

 

Once you have calmed down Brene suggests confiding in a friend or family member. “If you put shame in a Petri dish it needs three things to grow exponentially, secrecy, silence and judgement. If you put the same amount of shame in a Petri dish and you douse it with empathy you create an environment that’s hostile to shame.”

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How to Silence Your Inner Critic and Become Your Own Best Friend Through Self-Compassion Part Three

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Picture Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

How to manage your inner critic when it arises…

 

Throughout all twenty-three episodes of the Self Acceptance Project I found Dr. Kristin Neff’s insight into self compassion both astounding and revelatory. But what strategies does she use when faced by her own inner critic? The simplicity of her answer was beautiful.

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How to Silence Your Inner Critic and Become Your Own Best Friend Through Self-Compassion Part Two

 

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Picture Courtesy of ShutterstocBuild confidence…

 

Build Confidence…

 

When we learn to accept all of our experiences in this way we build what Tami Simon, the founder of Sounds True, refers to as ‘unconditional confidence’. ‘Unconditional confidence’ is a principal which is well known in meditation and refers to the confidence we possess once we know that whatever experience we may face, we are able to manage it by fully being with it unconditionally.

 

This ‘unconditional confidence’ enables us to take risks in life and love because we know that whatever the outcome, we will be able to manage it. In all honesty I often fight and struggle against unpleasant and painful feelings (like I’m sure so many of us do) which is why I am so eager to practise being more aware of my pain, breathing into it and accepting it, thereby developing more ‘unconditional confidence’ – an asset which would be invaluable.

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How to Silence Your Inner Critic and Become Your Own Best Friend Through Self-Compassion Part One

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Picture Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

I have to say I am very blessed to have wonderful friends in my life. My friends are loyal, considerate, understanding and believe in me even when my own self-belief is lacking. They are kind and loving and extremely thoughtful.

 

Sadly though, the most important friendship I’ve ever had (and certainly the longest standing one) was both love and hate for way too long. Over the years this friendship has changed from being toxic to dysfunctional to much better but there is still work to be done before it becomes completely kind and nurturing. What’s most troubling however is that, unlike all of my other friendships, this one isn’t optional. Who is this friendship with you ask? Myself.

 

How sad it is that such an important relationship, the relationship we have with ourselves, is often so cruel and uncaring. And yet it is the most important friendship we will ever have. When we consider our best friends in life – the friends that are there for us no matter what – we take for granted how these close bonds developed.

 

We forget it took work and that we invested a great deal of time into forming those bonds. Bonds that were built on trust, loyalty, empathy, understanding and love. Why then do we not put that same amount of effort into the friendship we have with ourselves? Surely it is nonsensical to think that we can be our own best friend if we fail to invest the time and effort into fostering a healthy relationship with ourselves.

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