Compassion Not Criticism 🥹

In the journey of personal growth, cultivating self-compassion emerges as a crucial yet elusive skill. Many struggle to grasp the idea that nurturing self-compassion can be a more potent force for motivation and productivity than self-criticism.
Compassion Not Criticism 🥹

Growing Our Sacred Muscles of Self-Compassion

For Greater Motivation, Creation and Action in the World

One of the HARDEST concepts for clients to understand, is that Self-Compassion is more motivating and supportive than Self-Criticism is.

Consider this scenario. Perhaps we really wanted to show up for something - like going to the gym 3 times this week, or putting energy into a new project. But for whatever reason, we don’t.

Human beings have been conditioned to be critical and hard on ourselves as a way to ‘hold ourselves’ accountable and motivate ourselves to do better next time.

Recent Science shows us however that being hard and critical on ourselves usually does the opposite. It makes us feel judged and less, and that takes away our energy to get up and do more next time. [1]

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1 minute for Self-Compassion Today!

What’s an Area of Your Life in which you Sometimes Feel Disappointed? Can you let yourself feel compassion for how Challenging this area is for you?! Give yourself permission to feel ‘It’s Hard!’

Psychology in the 1980s has been shown to be ineffective. Listen Up!

Recent studies show that putting in the time and care to treat ourselves with genuine self-compassion, is actually more motivating and supportive of real change and growth.

In the 80s they believed self-criticism was crucial for motivation. However today we now know that developments in NeuroScience that an experience of compassion is critical for effective change and rewiring neural pathways!

I know it FEELS like you need to criticize and even punish yourself to change and do better – but Science now tell us how counter-productive that is.

Here’s How to Move Forward, Says Dr Kristin Neff

It’s simple. If you want to do more and overcome your mistakes more quickly – let yourself off the hook! Be compassionate, kind and forgiving of yourself.

Activate that genuine experience of compassion for yourself. Let yourself feel that: You ARE doing your best, and that life IS hard sometimes.

According to Dr Kristin Neff, critics once doubted if self-compassion leads to laziness and low willpower; they believed self-criticism is crucial for motivation. However, research from 2012 suggests that high self-compassion boosts motivation to correct mistakes. Individuals with self-compassion work harder post failures and strive to amend moral wrongs. Self-compassion fosters a safe environment for acknowledging weaknesses and promoting positive changes, preventing defensiveness or despair.

Your Self-Compassion for Motivation Workout 💪

Making the Shift from Self-Criticism to Self-Compassion 

This is not an easy shift to make. Most of us were conditioned and raised through a lens of tough-love being more motivating than kindness and compassion. And so it may require patience to truly turn the tide to experience the profound impact coming into deep Self-Compassion can have on your life… but it WILL be worth it.

  1. Become Aware You’re Being Critical: In moments when we fail or fall down, we tend to turn to criticism and tough-love as a way to motivate ourselves to do better next time. Become aware of this pattern and recognize how it makes you feel. Do you feel energized and motivated. Or heavy and defeated. Whatever the answer… become aware of it.
  2. Challenge the Pattern: Ask yourself, "Is this pattern of self-criticism really motivating me to do better, or is it making me feel worse about myself?" Challenge the belief that being hard on yourself is the only way to create change. Be curious. Be open to your own feelings and experience.
  3. Practice Self-Compassion: Instead of criticizing yourself, practice self-compassion. Treat yourself with kindness, understanding, and support. Speak to yourself with a soft and loving tone, just like you would with a good friend. Remember: You ARE doing your best. And life is and feels HARD sometimes. Let yourself be kind and supportive. It will make all the difference.
  4. Embrace Imperfection: Recognize that you are human and that making mistakes is a normal part of the learning process. While we don’t often hear about it, being human is tough. All humans are imperfect. But it can be hard to remember that when we are surrounded by a society that often ONLY shows each other our perfect moments. Embrace your imperfections, knowing that loving them is key for moving forward in life.
Pro Tip: Repeat! Practice self-compassion regularly, especially in moments of struggle or failure. Repeat this process as many times as necessary until it becomes a natural and automatic response.

This takes time! Remember to treat YOU like you would almost anyone else.

And for starters – please do try treating yourself like the small child you LOVE the most. That’s real compassion.

When you fall down next can you really be kind and sweet to yourself like you would to a 5 year old. We all fall down. We all make mistakes. That’s called life. So let’s learn how to move on more quickly with kindness and compassion.

Ok let’s do it!

We love you! Dr. Zoë and Fenix xoxoox

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About the author
Dr. Zoë & Fenix

Dr. Zoë & Fenix

The ultimate happy coaching combo. Fenix supports humans be their best selves and beyond. Dr. Zoë adds a little science and strategy.

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