Self-Criticism vs. Self-Compassion


Have you ever looked endlessly for something and then realized it was sitting right in front of your face? It turns out that the solution to self-criticism is actually quite simple – start loving yourself more.” – Lauren Fire

Understanding Self-Criticism

Self-criticism refers to the behaviour of pointing out one’s own perceived flaws.

There are two types of self-criticism:

Comparative: Comparing oneself to others and feeling inadequate.

Internalized: The feeling that one cannot live up to personal ideals or standards; the belief that one is flawed.

Should you practice self-compassion?

  • Is nothing ever good enough?
  • Your is way always the right way.
  • You often find yourself ruminating over your mistakes.
  • Situations are often ‘black and white’ with little grey area.
  • Intense fear of failure is a familiar feeling.

…Then YES

How to practice self-compassion:

  • Engage in mindfulness
  • Speak softly to yourself
  • Practice meditation
  • Show kindness for yourself.
  • Be forgiving towards yourself
  • Write yourself a letter from the perspective of unconditional acceptance
  • Be flexible
  • Memorize a set of compassionate phrases
  • Consider how you would treat someone else

Self-compassion exercise:

  1. Think about a time when a close friend felt bad or was struggling in some way. How did you respond to your friend in this situation? Write down what you did and said to your friend.
  2. Consider a time when you felt bad or you were struggling. How did you respond to yourself? Write down what you did or said to yourself.
  3. Did you notice a difference? If so, ask yourself why. What factors come into play that leads you to treat yourself and others differently?
  4. How might things change if you responded to yourself in the same way you respond to a friend?

-Exercise derived from Dr. Kristin Neff’s website on Self-Compassion

Dare to see yourself as others see you. You in all your unique beauty. Without the critical filter.”  – Jenn Hand

Jessica Savage

Jessica Savage

Registered Psychotherapist