Bullies, they are relentless. They never let up, always judging, always making us feel we are not good enough and worthless. We would not hesitate to stand up for someone that is bullied, unless that bully is our own critical inner voice. We are taught to be compassionate and caring to others, just as Christ was. We take care of our friends and family without a second thought. So why do we exclude ourselves from the same compassion? We think being critical of ourselves will push us to be better. So instead of slowing down and taking care of ourselves when we experience something hard, we speed up. Elder Holland has taught, "As children of God, we should not demean or vilify ourselves, as if beating up on ourselves is somehow going to make us the person God wants us to become. No!" The antidote for the poison of self-criticism is self-compassion. If self-compassion is the solution, what does that even mean? And how do we get started?
Maybe instead of being our own worst enemy, we become our own best friend. Self-kindness is key to self-compassion. It is the desire to be gentle and understanding with ourselves when facing pain, rather than being harshly critical and judgmental of ourselves. If you had a friend that felt like they were a failure or not good enough, what kind words would you say to them to show support? Those are the types of things you should say to yourself. Understanding that pain and failure are part of a shared human experience is another key component of self-compassion. Everyone goes through difficult times. We are not alone when we face our challenges. Just as you would remind a close friend, remind yourself it's not fair to compare our difficult times with others', because we don't always see what they are struggling with, and that we all have flaws and mistakes that are part of the entire process of becoming like Christ. We also need to understand the importance of being mindful. We need to see our negative thoughts and emotions as they are, instead of ignoring them. But we don't want to define ourselves by our failures and frustrations. Remember that you have value, no matter your situation. Even though we can't make our challenges disappear, we can take an honest, balanced view of our emotions. This mindset will apply to any realm of difficulties, whether it's family, work, marriage, finances, or whatever is causing pain. If you can change the way you talk to yourself, it will prepare you to deal with life's challenges and embrace your flaws. Remember, everyone is a child of God who is deserving of love, forgiveness, and patience. And that includes you.