Tag Archives: practice self-compassion

How to be Mean… to Yourself:

25 Ways to be Mean… to Yourself

    1. Not asking for help: school/work/personal.
    2. Carrying a negative narrative or origin story about yourself.
    3. Not keeping your word to yourself.
    4. Not trying something new.
    5. Not allowing yourself to rest, or feeling guilty when you do.
    6. Procrastinating.
    7. Habitually saying self-derogatory things about yourself.
    8. Apologizing for everything.
    9. Setting unrealistic goals.
    10. Not setting goals.
    11. Faking having fun, pleasure, togetherness.
    12. Maintaining hurtful relationships.
    13. Not being appropriately assertive or reciprocal in personal relationships (Say: “Hey, you said that you would pay me back on this personal loan that you needed by such and such, can we work on getting that together? “)
    14. Giving up when you slip (well, I already ate the ice cream so I might as well eat everything else).
    15. Not keeping up with hygiene, health habits, or medical regimens.
    16. Doing something self-destructive when things are actually going well. 
    17. Not accepting compliments or appreciation.
    18. Avoiding daily responsibilities and chores that are relatively small until they become not so small.
    19. Paying for services that you don’t use (such as the dozens of subscriptions and services that are free for a month and then kick over to your credit card).
    20. Beating yourself up for past mistakes.
    21. Minimizing yourself because you get messages that you are “too much“.
    22. Raising your hand for a task because no one else is.
    23. Not protecting your emotional energy when you are going through a vulnerable time.
    24. Wasting time on things that bring no actual sustenance.
    25. Not speaking up when someone is being overtly rude.

And one more for good measure:  Allowing others to steal your creativity, product, or hard work.

Many of these things require practice and unlearning old habits. Also see How Can I Be More Self-Compassionate.

How Can I Be More Self-Compassionate?

A frequent discussion with patients is how to be kinder… To oneself.
According to clinical psychology research, self-compassion includes three major components: self-kindness, mindfulness, and connection with humanity. Scientifically, self-compassion promotes well-being, decreases depression and anxiety, and can be a buffer during difficult times.
See The Neuropsychology of Self-Compassion.

Become aware of your inner critic. The Ping.
When you notice your self critical thoughts like “I am a failure”, “I am such an idiot” or “No one likes me”. Pause and intervene with thought stopping (picture a stop sign) and replace it with another thought. Another method that my clients have found to be helpful is what I call ‘the ping’. Wear a stretchy style bracelet and ping it on your wrist when you find yourself being mean to you. It’s a quick reminder that this is an automatic thought. Self- denigrating thoughts can become internalized and require mindful vigilance to address them.
See Why Self-Compassion is More Important Than Self-Esteem

What would you say to a dear friend if you heard them saying these things aloud? The No-Trash-Talking.
If you heard someone you care about beating themselves up, you would likely tell them to be kinder. You would remind them that they did their best and help them remember what makes them special. Just as you wouldn’t let somebody else trash talk your bestie, being mean to yourself is not helpful.
See 13 Ways to Practice Non Compassion

Take a self-compassion break. The Timeout.
I also call this the reboot. When a laptop is glitching, you shut down everything and reboot. When people feel like they are in a downward spiral, stop everything and take a break. Use affectionate breathing, loving kindness meditation, or the self-hug as strategies to show yourself compassion.
See On the Power of the Self-Hug

Realize your suffering is a part of collective pain: Dukkha.
In Eastern thought, understanding that suffering is a part of common humanity versus your own isolated experience may help put things into perspective and to feel more connected. Pain makes people feel alone. Understand that although you may feel you are the only one suffering, you are not. Suffering is a part of the human range of experience and brings us closer to the bigger world.
See The Science of Compassion

Mindfulness. The self-scan.
Mindfulness is a receptive mind state where one observes thoughts and feelings as they are without suppressing or denying them. This state helps you become mindful of both positive and negative emotions and keep it in a balanced perspective. This can be combined with journaling, if desired. Writing how you feel in the moment from a stream of consciousness (no editing) perspective has been linked to a decrease in depressive or negative thoughts in numerous studies.
See Restorative Writing and Mental-Health

Kindness to others: Giving.
Community work and volunteering is strongly linked to an increase in positive mood. Somehow the act of helping others boosts us along with them. There are fewer things that are a bigger win-win.
Also see The Kindness of Strangers

When self compassion hurts

Some clients have recently mentioned that when they start practicing self compassion, they feel a wave of pain that’s almost overwhelming. Their pain actually increases at first. You can call this phenomena backdraft, a term used by firefighters and emergency workers that describes what happens when a door in a burning house is first opened: oxygen goes in and flames rush out. What should you do? I believe in staying in place, hunkering down.

This can include breathing, meditation, going about your everyday tasks, making your coffee, petting your companion animal, going for a walk. Eventually the wave subsides.


Embolden Psychology

Embolden offers the ADOS-2, the gold standard assessment for kids on the spectrum.

Combined with psychoeducational testing, it helps provide comprehensive information and recommendations to help children and teens six and up.

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