Friday, May 4, 2012

A Comfy Approach to Reducing Negative Self-Talk

 An earlier post (4/25/2012) quoted Kristin Neff's entire article about "The Power of Self-Compassion". Neff is a PT blogger. I like her writing and her perspective about being compassionate to one's self. She calls self-criticism what I label negative self-talk, but it's pretty similar. I suggest problem solving, realistic thinking, and detachment for reducing NST while she suggests self-compassion. Her approach sounds warm and comfy; a blanket that you could wrap around yourself in front of the fireplace. My approach is a bit more prickly and effortful. My meditation overlaps a bit with Neff's mindfulness. Here's Neff's description of self-compassion.

"But what is self-compassion exactly? Drawing on the writings of various Buddhist scholars, I have defined self-compassion as having 3 main components:
(a) self-kindness
(b) a sense of common humanity
(c) mindfulness.

Self-kindness refers to the tendency to be caring and understanding with oneself rather than being harshly critical or judgmental. Instead of taking a cold ‘stiff-upper-lip' approach in times of suffering, self-kindness offers soothing and comfort to the self. Common humanity involves recognizing that all humans are imperfect, fail and make mistakes. It connects one's own flawed condition to the shared human condition so that one can take greater perspective towards one's personal shortcomings and difficulties. Mindfulness involves being aware of one's painful feelings in a clear and balanced manner so that one neither ignores nor obsesses about disliked aspects of oneself or one's life. The three together combine to create a self-compassionate frame of mind: a compassion that can be extended toward the self when suffering occurs through no fault of one's own - when the external circumstances of life are simply too painful or difficult to bear - or else when our suffering stems from one's own mistakes, failures or personal inadequacies."

As we all know, one size never fits all, so neither does one approach for eliminating self-criticism and negative self-talk. Invest some time in trying out whichever approach sounds and feels workable for you, Neff's, mine, or something totally new and different. But do start. Now.
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