It’s 6:30 and I’m getting ready for an early coffee meeting. I pull my shirt from the basket of clothes, and I think to myself, “Ugh, I should have taken time to hang up the laundry last night.” I glance into the mirror as I’m leaving the house and say, “Man, I really need to start wearing blush, I look half dead.” It’s not even 7:00am and I’ve already been hard on myself twice.
We all have an inner dialogue. A little voice that talks to us each and every day, often times critiquing us, our interactions with others, or what’s not working in our lives.
Oh snap, that jerk is you.
Take just a minute to consider your inner dialog. Over the last hour, how many times were you harshly critical with yourself vs the times you were compassionate and supportive? Which voice is winning, your inner ally or your inner jerk?
You may think that being harsh with yourself is the best way to get motivated, but the research clearly has spoken. Those who motivate themselves with compassion are more productive, and have a host of other positive outcomes:
- Less depression, stress, and anxiety
- Improved interpersonal relationships
- Better creativity and innovation
- More resilience in the face of change or suffering
- A better ability to make positive health changes
Now that is some bang for your self-help buck.
No matter how powerful your inner critic is, you can stand firm knowing there is 10 years of research that Mindful Self-Compassion can give you the tools and the skills to create a more compassionate relationship with yourself.
One way to improve your inner compassion is to tame the harsh, critical voice inside your head. The first step is to be mindful, a non-judgmental awareness of your own inner dialog. The next step is to turn your harsh words around to a supportive, compassionate voice. I like to think of my compassionate voice as different characters that are there to help me out in a pinch.
Let’s rewind and I’ll tell you the full story of how my morning went.
I thought to myself “Ugh, I should have hung those clothes up.”
- I notice I’m being hard on myself
- I rally an inner ally; in this case my inner CEO.
- I give the CEO a voice. “Hey, it’s ok, you’ve got a lot on your plate. You just triaged your day and the laundry didn’t make the cut… no big deal.”
I said to myself “Man, I really need to start wearing blush, I look half dead.”
- I notice I’m speaking harshly to myself, again.
- I rally my inner Grandma
- I give Grandma a voice. “Oh honey you’re beautiful just the way you are.”
The harsh critic is defeated, and the inner allies save the day!
As silly as it sounds, this is really my inner voice since I’ve become the self-appointed inner compassion fan girl. Maybe someday I’ll float through life with no problems, love everyone I meet, and not have a harsh internal voice. Until then, I’m going to keep rallying my inner allies.
What does your inner ally have to say?