“It’s time to stop beating yourself up.”
When I speak to groups of students or educators, I make sure to touch on self-compassion as an important part of mindfulness practice. Typically, I begin with the statement above, shortly followed by, “…it’s not working, nor is it doing what you think it is.”
I start my overview of self-compassion with this because the experience of mentally beating oneself up is rather universal in our culture. Just about everyone does it, and I would guess that you do, too. (If you don’t, that is fantastic – keep at it!)
Negative self-talk and the inner critic are so pervasive because many people see it as useful. Some people even resist being gentler with themselves because they think self-flagellation is how they “hold themselves accountable” or “stay in line” or “teach themselves a lesson” when they mess up.
What occurs, in truth, is that we activate our stress response - our heart rate rises, blood pressure goes up, and our cortisol (the stress hormone) levels increase. This elevated state is not one where you can learn any sort of lesson.
Beating yourself up is a learned habit, and I would like to invite you to change this habit by doing the following: