The phrase self-compassion is a popular one. Kirsten Neff is the psychotherapist who brought this term into the mainstream. It is defined as offering oneself compassion and understanding despite one’s perceived shortcomings, failures, or general distress. Self-compassion has three parts, self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. It is comprised of using compassionate and understanding language towards ourselves, that we would to someone we wanted to support and care for. In doing so, we offer ourselves kindness, caring and an optimistic outlook. Mindfulness acknowledges there is no such thing as perfection, and everyone makes mistakes, life is sometimes tough. Our best is good enough. If we do not do our best, we acknowledge that and move on.
For some people, their inner critic’s voice is too loud and strong. Everyone has an inner critic that offers disapproval and that is normal. Only sociopaths do not have an inner critic and guilt. However, in some people, its volume needs to turn down considerably. The inner critic can become too strong when we grow up with someone who is overly critical and fault-finding. We may become that judgemental person in our own heads.
The combination of art therapy and psychotherapy is especially useful to increase self-compassion and turn down the inner critic. I can personally attest to the powers of art therapy surrounding this issue. I have been through an amazing healing journey with art therapy. As I started to shift my awareness to kindness and heal these stories, I became gentler towards myself. I also became stronger within myself to set boundaries around people who were unnecessarily critical and not coming from a place of caring.
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