Improving your ability to be compassionate with yourself begins by noticing your inner critic whenever it speaks to you, and working to change its tone to be more compassionate. The following exercise will help you do just that. Practice it over a few weeks’ time to help lay the foundation for long-term change.You can practice this exercise several ways. Do it through internal dialogue, or say it out loud when you're alone.
You can also write things in a journal if you want to keep track of patterns and thought processes. Whichever method you choose, just stick to it for consistency.
Here are the steps to the exercise:
1. Learn to listen to when your inner critic speaks to you.
To become more self-compassionate, you must first notice when you’re being self-critical. The next time you make a mistake or generally feel bad about yourself, try to notice what you’re saying to yourself internally. Try to become aware of your tone of voice and the words you use. Did anyone in your past or anyone in your present speak to you this way? Getting to know your inner critic well is an important first step, but it may be so deeply ingrained that it’s difficult to catch it. That’s okay. Just try to notice it as often as you can. As you continue to practice this step, you may feel as if you’re being more self-critical than before. In reality, you’re just getting better at noticing how self-critical you actually tend to be with yourself. Don’t get discouraged and keep at it.
2. Talk to your inner inner critic compassionately, without judging or insulting it.
To begin softening your self-critical voice, you need to treat it with compassion rather than judgment. Don’t insult your inner critic, or tell it to shut up, or yell at it to get out of your head. Rather, talk to it nicely, treating yourself with the same compassion you would a friend or family member. Treat yourself how you would want your inner critic to treat you!
3. Put your inner critic’s words in a positive light.
If you take your inner critic’s observations and put them in a positive, more compassionate light, you can more easily take your own advice to heart. Next time, notice when your inner critic is harping on you for making a mistake. It may sound like this, “Why did you just spend two hours on Instagram? That was a colossal waste of time. You’re useless.” Now, try to reimagine those same words being said by a compassionate friend, “I know it’s tough with your attention being pulled so many different directions throughout the day. There are so many distractions everywhere you turn. But spending your time like this doesn’t make you happy, and I want you to be happy. Why don’t you put the phone down for a while and clear your head?” Continue to reframe your inner critic’s words in this way and you will begin treating yourself with more compassion.
Feeding Ourselves With Grace
At Oats Overnight, we invite you to come to the table just as you are with your own vision for who you’d like to become. We’re on the same journey, seeking to live mindfully and self-compassionately because we believe that’s the foundation for personal growth. We invite you to join our community of support, and we’d love to fuel your daily goals through a premium breakfast.