Society make us believe that being exigent with ourselves is a good thing, as we assume that pushing ourselves beyond our limits is key for success. Many of us do not know the limit of self-criticism towards achieving our goals, which leads to self-sabotaging attitudes, triggers our threat system, interrupts our mental peace, and confidence and we can engage to destructive behaviours.
Recent studies suggest that being too competitive and self-critical do not prepare us for failure, as we are more likely to accept a failure. Thus, studies suggest that the better alternative to self-criticism is self-compassion, as it have several benefits for our mental health.
Self-compassion is the opposite of being weak, it actually have a key role in resilience, as individuals learn from mistakes or hard situations, which make them stronger to face future problems.
If you have a friend, who is going through a bad situation, would you be critical with him? Or would you be understanding and supportive? Self-compassion involves ourselves treating us as a friend would, being understanding in hard situations. If we practice self-compassion, we can be more mindful, gentle with ourselves, engage in more positive emotions in relation with a bad situation, and be more understanding that failure is part of growing experience in life. Furthermore, Harsh self-criticism elevates stress hormones which can be harmful for our mental health. Higher stress is related with higher risk of developing depression and anxiety. People who engage in self-compassion practice are less likely to be depress.
Moreover, self-compassion is important to increase self-esteem and it motivates us to achieve future goals
How we can practice self-compassion?
Write a letter for yourself: Things you are grateful for
Meditation or mindfulness: It is a way were you can practice this skill by observing your own thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions.
Write or have a conversation with yourself: How do I feel?, How do I want to feel? What makes me smile?
Give yourself time to decompress between tasks