We’re our own worst critic.
Although this sentiment is repeated time and time again, it’s not often that we reflect on what the consequences may be of constantly putting ourselves down.
According to pioneer researcher Dr Kristin Neff, some studies have suggested that having a low self-esteem is more likely to lead to depression and anxiety.
For many of us living with a negative inner dialogue though, that would come as no surprise. Whether it’s beating ourselves up over our performance at work or the amount we exercised this week, it can feel like our minds have an amazing ability to find the worst in a situation and ruminate on it.
This kind of self-talk not only makes us feel bad, but it could also be affecting our performance in day-to day life.
In fact, many studies have shown that when we learn how to exercise positive and instructional self-talk, our performance often improves.
Although it’s a great idea in theory, actually practicing self-compassion can feel incredibly difficult.
Psychologist at The Mind Room Danica Hade says a way to begin silencing our inner critic could be as simple as responding to yourself as if you’re responding to a friend.
“Talk is often kinder to a friend,” explained Danica.
She continued that once we begin to reflect on the type of language we’re using on ourselves, we could begin to create a “different way of relating to ourselves.”
The benefits of this could be extensive.
Danica stated that, “if you’re more compassionate to yourself, you have higher wellbeing, you’re more likely to succeed and put more effort into things, and you’re more compassionate to others.”
People who have higher self-compassion have also been found to be able to receive negative feedback better, take more responsibility for their behaviour, and have stronger relationships.
Luckily for all of us, research has also found that self-compassion can be increased with just a few weeks of practice.
As Danica put it, “everyone deserves to receive the same compassion and kindness they often give so freely to others.”