Theme: Self-Kindness vs. Self-Judgment
How to Make Peace With Your Inner Critic (Part III)
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE EXTEND SELF-COMPASSION TO OUR BODIES?
A type of re-birth takes place as we become open to new ways of being inside ourselves with ourselves.
Just like a mother is constantly scanning and observing her newborn infant to learn the unspoken language of its bodily cues with utmost compassion, so too can we begin to listen to our bodies to create an unspoken language of bodily sensations.
We begin to embody ourselves not as a concentrated “self” floating around inside a biological machine but as a sensory being with the capacity to listen to our senses and gather into ourselves for warmth, care, and safety as we go about bearing witness to the full spectrum of life.
We can begin to notice healthy and unhealthy patterns of behaviors we use to interact with our bodies.
We can begin to pay attention to the thoughts and emotions that guide both healthy and unhealthy behaviors.
Lastly, we begin to accept the full spectrum of experiences as part of being human. The "good, the bad, and the ugly" are shared conditions of us all. We are not alone in any of it.
THE FIRST ELEMENT OF SELF-COMPASSION: SELF-KINDNESS VERSUS SELF-JUDGMENT
We all have an inner critic that is running a never-ending script of not only past shortcomings, flaws, or inadequacies but also imagined future shortcomings, flaws, or inadequacies. It may be difficult to wrap our brain around this...but the inner critic is actually trying to protect us in its own way. It is keeping us fenced in within a very narrow comfort zone. It is effectively saying to us:
I am making you feel scared of what may be “out there” and making you doubt your abilities to handle what is “out there” so that you may never have to risk going into the wilderness of the unknown, where it is dangerous and unpredictable. -With Love, Your Inner Critic
SO WHAT NOW? CHANGE THE SCRIPT.
Acknowledge the protection your inner critic is providing you. After all, it is acting on good intentions.
Introduce the loving parent or compassionate witness that says:
It is okay to fail or feel inadequate. In fact, these are inevitable conditions of human life. It is more common than not for people to not always be or get exactly what they want. Fighting against this reality creates more stress, frustration, and further empowers the inner critic. Be gentle with yourself by using your time and energy to accept this reality with sympathy and kindness. -With Love, Your Loving Parent
Ms. Sofia Vasilakou (2018)