- Your Inner Critic is beating you up by saying all kinds of mean things about you.
- Your Inner Judge accuses you of wrong-doing. The gavel comes down. Boom! Guilty as charged!
- The Self-Hater is making you feel like sh-t.
Quick! Take a large dose of Self-Compassion. No negative side effects. Repeat as often as needed.
Sometimes it’s obvious that you are in need of the warm embrace of self-compassion. The warning signs are like flashing neon lights in Times Square. You feel really bad, and you know you need relief. At other times, the signals are more subtle. Or, maybe you are just so used to hearing those harsh inner voices that you don’t even think about them as calls for compassion. I’m noticing that the more inner work and healing I do, the more I’m able to sense a very faint signal of distress that’s at the very root of the ego: A basic sense of “not ok-ness”.
Consider these 5 warning signs, so you can be more aware of your need for compassion, whether the signals are loud and clear or faint and muffled:
1. Feeling “not enough”. “I’m not __________ (fill in the blank) enough.” Not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not loving enough, not dedicated enough… The list could go on and on.
2. Should-ing on yourself. “I should be doing __________ (fill in the blank),” or “I shouldn’t be doing __________ (fill in the blank).” In either case, the voice tells you there’s something wrong with your behavior.
3. Attacks on your body: Criticizing how you look, how your body feels, or how it’s functioning. “My body is too __________ (fill in the blank).” Too fat, too skinny, too wrinkly, too stiff, too tired, too achey…
4. Guilt and shame: “I am a bad person because __________ (fill in the blank).” I hurt someone, or I was hurt by someone else, and I deserved it.
It may not be immediately obvious what thought or whose Inner Voice is making you feel badly. Sometimes it’s just a sense of feeling blue, heavy, tense, or off center. If you inquire into what’s behind the subtle feeling of “not ok-ness”, you may discover one of the 5 warning signs is being lit up. But even if you don’t dig down to see what’s underneath the feeling, you can still benefit from applying a good dose of Self-Compassion. Take another dose as often as needed.
Don’t know how to give yourself compassion or want some support?
Listen to this 18-minute guided meditation designed to help you practice Self-Compassion.