03 March 2011

Taking a look at self-compassion

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Tuesday night while cruising Twitter, Chickbug posted a link to a New York Times article about self-compassion. Intrigued, I clicked over to it and was nodding my head along with this theory after the first paragraph.

So what is self-compassion? Turns out, it’s pretty simple: it’s how people view themselves. It’s further summarized as “giving ourselves a break and accepting our imperfections.” Um, yeah I’m not so good at that.

The article suggests that people are so supportive and understanding to friends and family but can’t take that and internalize it. We beat ourselves up over mistakes at work, overdoing it on calories, etc. and can’t cut ourselves a break.

Seriously, New York Times GET OUT OF MY HEAD.

Researchers feel that people don’t embrace self-compassion because the line between this and self-indulgent is very thin and that criticizing themselves keeps them in line.

This is a theory I definitely need to subscribe to. I am my own worst critic. This week, I made a mistake at work and rather than say, “I made a mistake, it’ll be okay,” I beat myself up over it, furious that I was so irresponsible (being overdramatic) and thus, binging a bit on candy because I was upset, so I ate my feelings.

And according to the article, self-compassion can have an affect on individual weight loss and diet plans. After reading the article and thinking back to Tuesday, there might be some truth to that.

Now, this is just one article, one set of research and one point of view, but what I take away from this is something I need to tattoo on my arm: cut yourself some slack.

I am very supportive and understanding with others, it’s time to really turn that on myself. I beat myself up over the big and small things, making it personal and making it a huge deal when really, I’m human. It’s okay to feel disappointed and want to change something in hindsight, but rather than dwell, it’s time to say, “I’ll do better next time” and move on.

I think I need to write this mantra down and put it in my wallet because this could be tough.

What about you? Are you your own worst critic?




  1. This is so important! My Weight Watchers leader put a big emphasis on self compassion. When you have a day where you don’t quite eat right or don’t exercise, you have to say, ‘It’s OK, I see where I went wrong and I’ll try to do better the next time.’ If you’re too hard on yourself too often, you’ll want to give up (because who wants to sustain that kind of abuse from anyone ? :)

    I’ve had to work on practicing more self compassion at work — not beating myself up when things don’t go the way I think they should. It’s so hard, but focusing on it has helped me be less stressed out.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I can be my own worst critic, but sometimes I have a ridiculous amount of confidence in areas where I maybe shouldn’t! Or maybe I’m just being too critical now? But, yes, I think we could all stand to stop beating up on ourselves.

  3. Jen says:

    I am totally my own worst critic. The things I think about myself are bad and I really need to be compassionate to myself.

  4. Mega says:

    I have this same issue at work, and one of my biggest shortcomings is that I hold other people to the same ridiculously high expectations. Sometimes I have to step back and realize no matter what happens today, tomorrow will still come. The sun will still come up, and Charlie Sheen will still be entertaining as all hell.

  5. E.P. says:

    We are so similar, girl, because I am the same way as you. I am my toughest critic, byfar, and I hold myself to ridiculously high standards. Which is a good thing, I think, except when I miss, I am not so compassionate to myself and my shortcoming… even if I wasn’t that far off.

  6. Anna says:

    I am the exact same way. I am definitely my own worst critic. I read the article and I’m going to try to approach my mistakes the way I would with a friend.

  7. Lil' Woman says:

    I am def. my worst critic….it’s so true that we judge ourselves harder than others.

  8. Kate says:

    Oh, totally. I’ve been that way my whole life. I hold people to a high standard, but myself to the highest standard. I have eased up on myself over the years. I mean, I know I’m going to screw up or not be perfect at everything, so I try to cut myself some slack. Still, I have been known to cry at bowling alleys when I’m playing a really bad game. Kind of pathetic.

    P.S. Being a Virgo doesn’t help things. We’re total perfectionists.

  9. Erin says:

    This is such a huge problem for me, and it’s been amplified 100 times since becoming a mom. I need to cut myself some slack for making mistakes, or even just not getting everything done when I want to. Thanks for the reminder.

  10. Nora says:

    Yes, yes, 1,000 times yes! I’m defintely awful at cutting myself some slack. I’m sure if I did that I’d feel less stressed, eat less, and feel better overall :) Thanks for sharing and reminding us… now if only I could *remember* it.

  11. Cheryl says:

    I AM my own worst critic! I once had a friend tell me that I am so worried about how a I treat others, but I’m so nice to others, I’m a bitch to myself. So true…so true. I’m going to try to adopt that mantra too…

  12. I think this is a great lesson, and I hope you can learn how to make self compassion and self love a part of your life everyday.

  13. Joey says:

    Most definitely.

  14. Sometimes I think that I need to be harder on myself, actually. I let a lot of things go that I shouldn’t.

  15. Ohhh heck yes! 100%!! One of my girlfriends always reminds me that when we are judging ourselves or making decisions for ourselves (especially related to men) we should ask ourselves “would I want my daughter or niece to feel like this/be treated like this etc.” or “what if my daughter or niece came to me with this problem”. Chances are we would be A LOT easier on them than ourselves!

  16. alliecakes says:

    Yes, I’m absolutely my own worst critic! I think many people struggle with this. I can dish out lots of advice, beg my close friends not to beat themselves up as hard as they do but when it comes to taking me own advice? Not so good!

  17. Kez says:

    I am terrible with this! But I used to be even worse…
    Sometimes when I know I’m beating myself up, I ask myself: If this was someone I care about telling me about their mistake – what would I say to them and what would I think of them?
    I soon realise I need to take my own advice!!!