Exercise – How to Stop Self-Criticisim

Self-criticism. Some of us judge ourselves more harshly than we judge others. If you beat yourself up for your imaginary shortcomings you’ll know it can make you feel sad, lonely, and even guilty. Use this exercise to drive out the habits that feed  low self-esteem and under-confidence.

Is self-criticism a problem for you? Many people worry about low self-esteem, but the more you worry about it the worse you feel. I’ve found that it is more productive to focus on what you want (the solution) than it is to worry about what you have (the problem). After all, the more you worry about a problem the bigger it can appear.

Self-criticism and lack self-compassion are often fuelled by unrealistic and harsh self-judgements. You can do something about it by learning to treat yourself with greater compassion and understanding. Some psychologists talk about forgiveness, but when it comes to ourselves there is nothing to forgive. If you have wronged someone else then you may need to apologise or atone, but that’s another matter.

An exercise for stopping self-criticism and developing self-compassion

Research suggests that people who respond to self-criticism with compassion — rather than beating themselves up — are happier and healthier. I have prepared an exercise to help you train yourself towards greater tolerance and self-compassion.

Paul Gilbert, in his book The Compassionate Mind, describes some basic qualities of a compassionate individual: wisdom, warmth and kindness and being non-judgemental.

These are ideals, so don’t beat yourself up if you occasionally lapse into feeling weak or making the odd negative judgement. But bear them in mind as an image to aspire to. Be guided by your idea of what it means to be compassionate towards others, and then bend it towards greater compassion for yourself. Use this exercise to built the healthy thinking styles and banish self-criticism and harsh self-judgements.

Would you like to know more?

Call Barry Winbolt on +44 (0)1323 895 220 or email info@barrywinbolt.com

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