It’s time to stop beating ourselves up

Stop for a moment and listen to the voice inside your head. How does this voice sound? Is it kind to you or harsh? We all ‘self talk’ and it can be really helpful when this inner voice motivates us, reassures us or stops us from a bad habit. But when this voice attacks us, it can be demotivating and even destructive. 

The self attacking voice in our heads is known as the “inner critic” and it can be loud and harsh. 

“What did I do that for? I’m such an idiot!”

“I’m so fat!”

“I’ll never make anything of my life!”

“I’m so hopeless!”

“How could I be so stupid?”

“I’ll never get this right!”

This inner critical voice has been with us since very early in our lives. It’s our most consistent companion and many of us seem to think that it is ok to talk to ourselves in this way. And yet researchers, such as British psychology professor Paul Gilbert, have shown that people with strong inner critics are more prone to stress, anxiety and depression.

Maybe you’ve tried to change this voice with positive affirmation statements or to silence it through meditation, but it’s very hard to fool yourself or to shut this voice down and despite all your efforts, the inner critic is loud and clear and bossy as ever: “Yeah right! As if!” So you check to see if it’s 5pm yet: “Surely it’s time for my evening glass of wine!” or you reach for some chocolate or cake or some other comfort food and get lost in Facebook for a while. It’s much easier to numb. 

What if you really started listening to this voice and what it has to say? What if you put on a different set of ears and listened through the negativity and criticism to what is really being expressed? When your close friend says “I’m such an idiot!”, they’re really telling you that they are feeling ashamed or angry about something they’ve done. You don’t say “yes you are!”. You give them love and reassurance or hear them in their pain. Our inner critic is just like your self critical friend – it’s using habitual language learnt in childhood. It just doesn’t know how else to express itself to you. And, like we do with our loved ones, we can turn towards this inner critic and really listen with compassion, love and curiosity. 

The more we identify with the inner critic, the more we stay in a state of helplessness and disempowerment. Through slowing down, allowing, tuning into our bodies and really starting to listen, we can get more in touch with what really matters to us in our lives and then we start to make different choices and have more clarity when things aren’t going the way we hoped. The path to empowerment and really creating the life we want is through self compassion. 

When we can be better friends to ourselves, we can be better parents, lovers, children, friends, neighbours, colleagues and citizens. A compassionate world is created by compassionate people and it starts with our relationship to ourselves. 

Invitation to a free webinar : Transforming Your Inner Critic

Would you like to learn a simple process for transforming your inner critic?  You can learn to turn your inner critic into your inner best friend who’s got your back in a positive and supportive way. This will free up a lot more energy for you to channel into living the life you want to be leading. You will have more capacity for life and more courage to be yourself. 

On September 27 from 11am, Meghan Kurts-Forrester (founder of Evohe Ethical Skincare) and Filippa Araki (compassionate communication coach*) would like to invite you to attend a free webinar during which Filippa will take Meg through this process that has the power to change your life. If you can’t attend in real-time, the webinar will be recorded and available for later downloading. 

In this webinar you will learn…… 

  • what holds us back from living the lives we want to be leading
  • how we can be kinder to ourselves
  • how to improve your self awareness and your emotional intelligence

As part of Evohe’s dedication to the practise of self-care and to thank you for sharing this journey with us, Evohe are offering this webinar for free. There’s a limited number of seats for this webinar so please register now.

Filippa Araki is an experienced educator, a certified trainer in Nonviolent Communication and has undertaken training in Compassion-Focused Therapy with renowned psychology professor and researcher, Paul Gilbert. She is dedicated to doing her bit to make the world a better place by teaching people how to be kinder to themselves.

Befriending Ourselves – how to be more compassionate with ourselves

Our inner critic is loud and bossy. Have you ever stopped to listen to it?

“What did I do that for? I’m such an idiot!”

“I’m so fat!”

“I’ll never make anything of my life!”

“Why does this always happen to me?”

“I’ll never get this right!”

This inner critical voice has been with us since very early in our lives. It’s our most consistent companion. Maybe you’ve tried to change it with positive affirmation statements or to silence it through meditation, but it’s very hard to fool yourself or to shut this voice down and despite all your efforts, the inner critic is loud and clear and bossy as ever: “Yeah right! As if!” So you check to see if it’s 5pm yet: “Surely it’s time for my evening glass of wine!” or you reach for some chocolate or cake or some other comfort food and get lost in Facebook for a while. It’s much easier to numb.

What if you really started listening to this voice and what it has to say? What if you put on a different set of ears and listen through the negativity and criticism to what is really being expressed?
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Turning towards

turning towards

Saturday night. Both kids went on a sleepover. We had the night to ourselves. This is good practice for when we become empty nesters, I thought. We decided to have a bath and started to talk about a novel that we’d both been listening to. Somehow the conversation turned to the kids and his concern about the kids having a life of too much play and not enough structure.  

Many times I heard criticism. Many times, I heard messages of “You’re not …. enough” “You’re too….”. That isn’t what he said, but with a strong inner critic who is quick to hear blame and criticism that is what I heard. This time, I took a breath and I remembered.

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Peanut brain

Copyright: nailiaschwarz / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: nailiaschwarz / 123RF Stock Photo

This week, listening to a wonderful interview with brain scientist Dr Jill Bolte-Taylor,  I learnt that our thoughts all originate from a cluster of cells in our left hemisphere which are the size of a peanut. It is our thoughts that trigger our feelings and make us unhappy.

“She ignored me!”, “He’s being selfish!”, “I’m not good enough”, etc.  Our peanut brain has a thought and this triggers a feeling. At this point we have a choice…. to feed the feeling (fan the fire) with further thoughts or recognise, allow, accept and empathise. Continue reading

Vision in daily life

26495716 - family heart hands icon
Copyright: Gloria Rosazza

I’ve spent a lot of time this year thinking about my core values, and trying to get a clearer vision of my life and how to really live in alignment with my values. I’m realising, it’s a moment to moment thing – in each moment, when the awareness is there, I can think: “is this what I want? is this the kind of world I want to live in?”.

This week has given me lots of opportunities to ponder this. My daughter broke her arm on Sunday when a branch she was climbing on broke. There were three other children present when she fell and two of the kids ran off after she fell. Continue reading

Empathy is a gateway to Compassion

mum kayo and meEmpathy is a gateway to compassion. It’s understanding how someone feels, and trying to imagine how that might feel for you — it’s a mode of relating. Compassion takes it further. It’s feeling what that person is feeling, holding it, accepting it, and taking some kind of action.

(quote from BigThink)

I like this article’s explanation of the difference between empathy and compassion – it’s something I’ve been puzzling over for a while. It now makes more sense to me why Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is also called Compassionate Communication. Continue reading