An amazing resource I have been sharing with clients recently is a book by Dr. Kristin Neff called Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind. Dr. Neff is a faculty member and researcher at The University of Texas at Austin. She studies how the relationship a person has with themselves affects how well they function in life. She is considered to be the world’s leading authority on self-compassion.
People mistakenly belief that being “tough” on themselves is what makes them successful. Research on self-compassion reveals the exact opposite: People who maintain a compassionate stance with themselves tend to be much healthier and more productive than those who beat themselves up when they make a mistake or encounter hardship.
If you had a parent who used a harsh tone or criticism to “motivate” you, you may naturally struggle with constant self-judgment. Shifting into a kinder relationship with yourself is challenging, but such a vital part of moving toward greater health and happiness in life.
Please explore Dr. Neff’s website to learn more about self-compassion. You will find many free resources on the following site that may be of tremendous benefit to you: http://www.self-compassion.org/
Anyone who is alive has experienced moments that are painful, hurtful, even wounding. Sometimes these injuries can become debilitating, while other times, we simply lick our wounds and move on. In this interesting interview, Michael Singer, author of The Untethered Soul,speaks to Oprah Winfrey about the “thorns” people carry with them after a wounding experience, and the importance of finding a way to heal these hurts.
Criticism of others and self-criticism are two common topics in any therapist’s office. Here is an insightful article on judgment that I found on www.tinybuddha.com.
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” ~Henry David Thoreau
A friend of mine likes to joke that dying will be a relief because it will put an end to the “heavy burden of judging” as she calls it. She envisions herself lying in a hospital bed and, moments before death, noticing the ceiling and thinking, “What a hideous green.”
Here’s a modest proposal: Vow that for the rest of the day, you won’t judge your friends and you won’t judge any strangers you happen to see. This would include a friend who’s a non-stop talker; it would include a friend who’s always complaining about his life. It would include the strangers you pass on the street or see in a waiting room.
I call it a modest proposal because I’m not even addressing the issue of self-judgment, let alone BP or Gaddafi. No. I’m just asking you not to judge friends or strangers.
It’s entirely possible you won’t make it past a few minutes without judging someone!
“Fall seven times and stand up eight.” Japanese Proverb
When life knocks you down, it can be a humbling experience you register as failure. I love the saying above because it is a reminder that people need to expand their focus beyond the moments when they “fall” to include the moments when they figure out how to stand back up. You cannot learn anything in life without falling a few times. It is only after you fall that you actually learn to get up. Persist in getting back up a few times and you will eventually become more resilient.