How often do we beat ourselves up, calling ourselves failures, stupid, useless, ugly, fat, lazy and so on.   Why do we do it, because we are disappointed in ourselves?  Maybe, but it’s self-abuse!   We would never treat someone we love and care about that way, would we?    And, when we do treat ourselves this way it usually leads to self-destructive behaviour like, drinking, overeating, avoiding friends and family, even worse self-harming.   We criticize and punish ourselves instead of being caring and understanding, this is where self-compassion comes in.

What is Self-Compassion

It is when we show ourselves the same love, understanding and support that we would a child or a close friend.   It may be unnatural for some people, especially if they have a lifetime habit of putting themselves down.  But you are the one person who will be with you forever, the one who has your back and if you are constantly criticising and even insulting yourself, saying things you would never say to other people then you are actually abusing yourself.   Instead of nurturing yourself, being compassionate and encouraging you are being your own worst enemy! Life can be difficult enough without you attacking yourself too.

Why did we start being mean to ourselves?

I think it probably comes from a few sources:

  • From the self-limiting beliefs we have developed from childhood.
  • From negative feelings of anger, disappointment and frustration we have about ourselves not being able to achieve something.  
  • Being let down by friends, family or colleagues, feeling like no one cares about you.
  • Expectations we feel we must live up to from the outside world, e.g. successful people in the media and on social media giving a false impression of perfection.

There could be many other reasons but what you first need to do is recognise yourself doing it then try to take step to stop it, prevent it and change the way you talk to yourself.

How to change our self-talk

There are many resources available to improve your self esteem and learn to love yourself; self help books, meditations and self-hypnosis sessions, courses etc.    You only need to do a google search to find a vast selection of material available, some of it is free of charge too.  These are just a few tips and ideas you can use and develop for your own system:


Start to notice when you are being self-critical, do you call yourself names if you don’t like the way you look, perform or relate to others?  Do you dismiss any complements people give you?  If someone hurts you or you have an accident or something happens outside your control that impacts on your life, do you feel sorry for yourself? Blame yourself? Or think you must deserve it?

Be Honest

Why are you thinking these things?   Is it because you need to lash out because you are angry or disappointed and there is no one to blame? 

Do you feel defeated because you find it too difficult to achieve something and call yourself stupid, a failure etc.  feel like giving up and not even try anything again?

Would you tell a child they look ridiculous in what they are wearing, are ugly and will never look good?  Would you tell someone you care about that they are stupid for making a mistake and don’t deserve anything better, so there is no point in trying?    No you wouldn’t, not unless you intentionally wanted to abuse them, and that is very unlikely if you care about them.

Do you feel that nobody cares about you so there is no point in caring for yourself, that you are not worthy? 

Notice the feelings these thoughts bring up and how they spiral.   It’s a vicious circle because when you are in a negative frame of mind the energy you give off and the way you behave towards yourself and others will just attract more negativity and you may not even notice any positivity or kindness around you or, if you do you may reject it.

Feel the Love

Your true self, your soul or whatever you feel comfortable with, has only unconditional love for yourself.   Try looking deep into your eyes in the mirror or close your eyes, focusing on your breath and emptying your mind.   Try to find a way to connect to the part of you that feels love and compassion, if you can’t feel it for yourself think about someone or something else that brings up those feelings.    Imagine the feeling of unconditional love, sit with the feeling and let it spread throughout your whole being.   This may be difficult to do to start with, especially if you have never focused on feeling good about yourself, but the more you practice the easier it will become.   You may need to detach from yourself initially to bring these feelings up, watch an emotional movie, read a feel good book, walking in nature is an excellent way to switch off from negativity or just do something you really enjoy. There are loads of ‘loving kindness’ meditations you can try too if you like to meditate.

Negative and Positive Voice

I too have a negative voice, a critical bully.   But I also have a loving inner guide, who talks soothingly too me when I attempt to put myself down.    You can be your own guide, mother, friend or mentor by talking to yourself in the way you would to encourage, love and nurture someone or being (e.g. a pet) you deeply care about. 

The negative and positive voices we have are all part of our consciousness, they serve a purpose, the negative voice may be trying to prevent you from getting hurt and not realise the harm it’s doing.  I know people, maybe even myself at some point in my life who have said you can’t be disappointed if you expect the worse.  In my case I have imagined the worst scenarios in order to be aware of potential setbacks and dangers so I can be prepared for them or even avoid them.  This is a survival technique but I don’t allow myself to obsess over them.  If a negative thought comes into your mind about things that could happen, acknowledge the warning, thank that voice for alerting you and now you know about it you can let go of the fear or concern.     Listen to the positive voice more, the one that knows you can do it, the one that forgives your mistakes and encourages you to feel good about yourself.  

Learn to be loving towards yourself.

As an example of how you can turn your thoughts around; if you were unhappy with your appearance, think about people you really love, admire and respect, would you think any differently about them if they looked different?   Do you think they are really impressive but you would prefer them to be better looking, slimmer, smarter or more successful etc. No, you just accept and love them the way they are.   So why wouldn’t other people (the ones that matter) accept you the way you are?

Try to find a positive statement for every negative thought.  This may be difficult to do if you have spiralled so low that you just want to give up but again the more you practice the easier and more effective it will be. 

Affirmations:  Have some affirmations written down and placed where you will see them regularly, ones that will lift you up, forgive, encourage or nurture you when you need them.  They should always be positive and phrased as if it already true, Some examples could be:

Whatever suits your needs, you can make up your own affirmations or look up ideas on the internet and again there are many books out there like ‘You can heal you Life’ by Louise Hay , ‘Thoughts That Harm, Thoughts That Heal’ by Keith Mason and many others.

Be Forgiving

If you make a mistake, have an argument with a friend or just go through a negative state where you think bad thoughts about someone, don’t beat yourself up about it.   It won’t change what you did but you can acknowledge your regret and try to understand what caused it.   It you think you could have done things differently then you can learn from your mistake and make amends if needed.   If it’s something you can’t change then just accept that is how you felt or behaved at the time, how bad you felt about it and try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  Talk to yourself as though you were advising and reassuring a friend. 

Forgiveness brings Peace

Being more forgiving to others will also enable you to reflect on your own behaviour and forgive yourself.  If someone did something you don’t agree with, try not to be judgemental but think about their situation and what they may be going through.   People rarely behave badly to others unless they are struggling with their own problems.   They may be under a lot of stress, so busy they are not aware of the impact they have on those around them. 

Your thoughts shape your world

They sayings ‘what goes around comes around’, ‘karma’ ‘you get out what you put in’, ‘you are what you think’ all mean the same thing. Instead of a vicious circle of negativity, you can change it to a positive circle of understanding, love and compassion. 

Having a positive mindset may seem difficult during stressful times, but you can control your inner world. Learning to be compassionate to yourself and others helps come to terms with things and acceptance, gratitude and forgiveness will bring peace. I have a separate article on acceptance and will be writing ones on gratitude and forgiveness next so take a look at them if you want a little more detail on the subjects.

I hope you found this article interesting and useful. If you like this take look at some of my other pages or blog posts where I talk about different therapies and my own wellbeing journey. If you’d like to see my future content then please enter your email and press subscribe below and you will be alerted when I publish anything new. Thank You for taking the time to read this. Until next time, I wish you all the very best. Janet x

I am currently affiliated with Body FX. This page may contain other affiliated links and if you purchase any item from following one of these links I may receive a small commission. Images that I haven’t taken myself are from or

I am currently affiliated with Body FX. This page may contain other affiliated links and if you purchase any item from following one of these links I may receive a small commission. Images that I haven’t taken myself are from or

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