We’re Much Nicer to Others Than We Are to Ourselves
March 8, 2011 · Posted in Mental Health, Parenting, Therapy · Permalink
If we really listen to our internal dialogue most of us will hear things that if said to others, would make our hair stand on end.
“You’re fat and lazy.”
“You are the worst mother in the world.”
“Who do you think you are??!!”

Tara Parker Pope highlights the need to calm the harsh inner world in her most recent article in her NYT blog Well, entitled “Go Easy On Yourself, a New Wave Of Research Urges”.  She cites research by Dr. Kristin Neff at the University of Texas at Austin that shows people with higher levels of self-compassion have less depression and anxiety. Why the internal battlefield? Neff states, “I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent.  They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.”
So the “inner critics” are keeping us in line, so they think, but really hurting us in the long run. There are a number of ways to approach these inner critics to calm and heal them. One is Internal Family Systems therapy, another is meditation and mindfulness. What we do learn when we take the time to get to know these inner critics is that they are protecting us from, we think, worse pain: shame, sadness, and fear to name a few. When we get to the deeper pain and not only survive, but thrive, the critics soften or even become supportive.

So if you have relentless critics, don’t shy away from the hard work. It pays off for us and our children.
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