We all have an inner voice, but we may not realize its impact on us; whether our inner voice is positive or negative affects how we feel. Kristin Neff, the leading expert on Self-Compassion, provides us with this quote, 

“This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.” 

Our voice may tell us, “failure is not an option,” “You keep failing,” or “You cannot do anything right.” These thoughts make us believe that what we do is never good enough, possibly causing us to feel drained, hopeless, helpless, and lost.

We never considered if this was my friend’s voice. Would this friend make me feel good about myself, uplift me, and provide me inspiration and hope? Or does this friend hurt me, drain my energy, and make me feel bad about myself? If so, why are they in my life?

Thinking about our thoughts as our friend’s voice and how they make us feel is important to help us understand our feelings. 

What is Self-Compassion?

Self-Compassion includes three different aspects

  1. Self-kindness instead of self-judgement

Being critical of our thoughts, actions and emotions can form harsh judgements. Instead, talking to yourself like you are your friend can help you apply kindness and care with warmth and understanding. 

Tip: Journaling or prompted journals, self-compassion podcasts

2. Common humility instead of isolation

Struggling and suffering are a part of the human experience. In a world of highlight reals, we believe others have the “perfect life,” leading us to feel more alone. Recognize that it is human to have obstacles, and others in your life may have similar obstacles. 

Tip: Listen to music that resonates, read a book that talks about a similar experience, talk to a safe friend

3. Mindfulness instead of over-identification 

Tune into your thoughts and emotions, and hold space for those feelings. If we push them down or dismiss them, it can make the emotions stronger over time. Feel them through and find a way to let them go. 

Tip: Going for a walk, meditation, or yoga

Self-Compassion is a skill that needs to be practiced. Like anything, practice makes progress. The more we practice, the easier it becomes. When a negative or self-defeating thought surfaces, ask yourself:

Would I say this to my friend?

If you wouldn’t, what would you say to your friend?

What are the words you need to hear? 


Ted Talk:

Book: The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook by Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer

Self-Compassion Exercises:

Self-Compassion Meditation:

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