Develop Self–compassion and understand our inner critic

By Marnie Adams, Contributor @ Kids In Perth 22 Apr 2024

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Image/Video Credit: Prosper Health Collective, Facebook, YouTube, Online.

Created in collaboration with Pek Lee from Prosper Health Collective

When we criticize ourselves, we often make our distress worse by criticizing our self-criticism.

However, this is counterproductive because it only serves as fuel for making us feel worse i.e., that we have an inner critic, and we then feel bad that we are finding it so hard to shift.

However, what's important to remember is that our inner critic, as described by author Marsha Rosenberg (Non-Violent Communication), as being an expression of ourselves that is striving to better or protect us.

When this tips into self-criticism, this part of our identity is out of balance and the behavioural changes it motivates tend to also be imbalanced, making us feel bad. This can then move into a cycle of unbalanced behaviour and self-criticism that is very unhelpful.

Feelings of stress, anxiety and depression resulting from too much self-criticism can impact overall well-being.

Image/Video Credit: Prosper Health Collective, Facebook, YouTube, Online.

Kristen Neff, author of many books on self-compassion, describes how self-criticism can activate the fight-flight fear system which was originally designed to help us escape from wild animals e.g., run away and/or fight. This hormonal response is entirely inappropriate when we're facing modern day challenges and beating ourselves up – we end up emotionally exhausted, feeling anxious and restless, getting stuck in rumination and accepting harsh judgments about ourselves.

There are many practices to assist with self-compassion. However, overall, all approaches would benefit from us remembering the evolutionary origin of our self-criticism. Self criticism evolved from the need to protect, be better and improve. Things are simply out of balance, though “simply” doesn’t always mean it’s easy to adjust the balance


Image/Video Credit: Prosper Health Collective, Facebook, YouTube, Online.

Remembering that simple does not equate to easy is important when you're on the journey towards developing your self-compassion. Otherwise, the ideas and knowledge behind self-compassion can easily become a stick with which to further beat yourself up with.

Start a conversation and learn more about how these ideas benefit you or loved ones by getting in touch with a psychology expert from Prosper Health Collective by calling 6381 0071 or visiting

For more information about Prosper Health Collective and their upcoming event, visit or click the buttons below.


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Image/Video Credit: Prosper Health Collective, Facebook, YouTube, Online.

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