Self-Compassion: The Antidote for Self-Criticism

therapy for self-criticism san francisco

How we talk to ourselves deeply impacts how we feel and how we care for ourselves.

Is the voice inside your head demeaning, demanding, and relentless? If so, you likely have a harsh Inner Critic.

Our Inner Critic is a composite of messages we received from the world while growing up. While many times these messages were meant to protect us in some way, they can become harmful when they’ve gone unchecked.

Many smart, thoughtful, creative people wrestle with their Inner Critics.

Helping clients recognize their Self-Criticism and build Self-Compassion is at the heart of my work as a therapist.

To give you a sense of the impact of your inner criticism as well as the benefits of learning more compassionate ways of relating to yourself, check out the list below:

Self-Criticism would have you believe you’re never good enough so why bother trying anything new.
Self-Compassion helps you take healthy risks by reminding you that no one’s perfect and even though you feel scared, you have challenged yourself in the past and been okay.

Self-Criticism emphasizes doubt, which erodes confidence and inner trust.
Self-Compassion emphasizes balance, which can promote a fuller, more accurate picture.

Self-Criticism makes you feel inadequate and looks for ways to rub your face in your flaws.
Self-Compassion helps you see yourself as real and deserving of some credit and kindness.

Self-Criticism preaches that its way is the only way to keep you from making a fool out of yourself.
Self-Compassion reminds you that it’s okay to be a work in progress.

Self-Criticism narrows and shrinks.
Self-Compassion opens and expands.

Self-Criticism believes that bullying is the only way for you to learn from your mistakes.
Self-Compassion knows that making mistakes is a part of being human, and that learning from mistakes usually happens best when you are free to understand what didn’t go to plan, as opposed to when you’re distracted by being criticized.

Self-Criticism says you deserve to suffer.
Self-Compassion says you deserve forgiveness.

Self-Criticism yields stress and spiraling.
Self-Compassion brings groundedness and centering.

Self-Criticism insists on punishment and destruction.
Self-Compassion advocates for clarity, perspective, and right responsibility.

Self-Criticism isolates you.
Self-Compassion connects you to the world through shared humanity.

Self-Criticism is being hard on yourself.
Self-Compassion is being here for yourself.

Self-Criticism has become automatic. You can be critical to yourself without even thinking about it.
Self-Compassion is brave; it’s unchartered territory. It may feel unfamiliar at first, but with practice, it will come with more ease.

If you can’t seem to get away from self-judgment, therapy can help.

If you’re interested in learning more compassionate ways of being with yourself, contact me at I love helping people create these types of transformative shifts.

Photo by Guillaume Lorain on Unsplash