“You’re a beautiful girl,” the old man from her ancestral country said. She felt the warmth of his compliment glow deep inside her. He continued, “Don’t ever shave your mustache.” Poof. It was out.
Dr. Kristen Neff is a leading researcher on self-criticism and that’s one of her stories. It made me laugh out loud when I heard it (and I hope it did for you too). As if life isn’t hard enough without external critics.
Neff’s work focuses on our inner critics and how they can be fueled and misdirected by the voices we let in. More importantly, she also writes about how we can keep our inner critics on our sides.
Here are 3 Neff-isms from her recent Hidden Brain interview:
- If we project confidence but don’t feel it, eventually the gap will break us. We have to face our inner critics.
- Being kind to ourselves doesn’t mean we won’t get things done. Knowing what we need instead of forcing what we think others expect is the key to sustainable productivity.
- The self-critic resists reality. They try to force or impose an interpretation on events instead of accepting them as they are. The self-compassionate person doesn’t say (but can admit when appropriate), “I’m a bad person.” They instead say, “I’m human. I screwed this up.
Less self-critical and more self-compassionate. Please. For you and me.
What about you? Know this struggle? What hit home? Let me know.