Standing In Our Own Way

Posted: October 27, 2014 by Castimonia in Sexual Purity Posts
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Are you highly self-critical? Do you beat yourself up over failures? Do you work too much and push too hard without giving yourself time to breathe? Do you feel the need to compete, outperform others, and move ahead of the pack? Do you live with shame or a sense of not being good enough? We live in a society that regularly sends us the message to achieve more, work harder, win, be perfect, be the best. There is of course nothing wrong with having goals and dreams to pursue. However, most of us don’t stop to consider whether our self-critical and competitive attitude is actually helping us achieve these goals or whether it might actually be standing in our way. New research suggests self-compassion may be a far superior alternative. Kristin Neff, associate professor of Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas and pioneer of research on self-compassion, has shown that when our self-worth depends on out-competing others, we actually become more insecure and anxious: if we fail, we become highly self-critical, adding to our misery. Faced with criticism, we become defensive and feel crushed. We give up in the face of challenge. Moreover, competition fosters disconnection: rather than building social connection which research shows is essential to well-being, we view others as obstacles to overcome and we ultimately feel more separate from others. The primary goal of our desire for success is to be successful, to belong, and to be loved yet ironically self-criticism and competition end up having the reverse effect. Where self-criticism leaves us powerless and distraught, self-compassion is at the root of empowerment, learning, and inner strength. With self-compassion, we value yourself not because we’ve judged ourselves positively and others negatively but because we are intrinsically deserving of care and concern just like everyone else. Self-compassion means treating ourselves as we would a friend. Rather than berating, judging, or adding to a friend’s despair, we listen with empathy and understanding, encourage them to remember that mistakes are normal, and validate their emotions without adding fuel to the fire. Neff defines self-compassion as “being kind and understanding toward oneself in instances of pain or failure rather than being harshly self-critical; perceiving one’s experiences as part of the larger human experience rather than seeing them as isolating; and holding painful thoughts and feelings in mindful awareness rather than over-identifying with them.” From “Overcoming Shame: The Powerful Benefits of a Little Self-Love” by Emma Seppala, Ph.D http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-it/201211/overcoming-shame-the-powerfulbenefits-little-self-love

Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots. Frank A. Clark

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s