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How to Silence Your Inner Critic (and Why You Should) with Dr Kristin Neff (Re-Release)

by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee   /  April 10, 2024

CAUTION ADVISED: this podcast contains mild swear words and themes of an adult nature.

This week, I have decided to re-release a conversation that originally came out over three years ago, all the way back in March 2021. Since then, this podcast has attracted many new listeners who perhaps will not have heard this particular conversation. And to me, this is an episode that speaks to one of the most important topics when it comes to improving our health and happiness – compassion. But I’m not talking about compassion for others, I’m talking about compassion for ourselves, and how this is a crucial ingredient that is often overlooked when it comes to living a happier and healthier life. Even if you did hear the original episode, I still think it is worth re-listening as this is a topic that we could all do with a reminder on from time to time.

Dr Kristin Neff is a professor at the University of Texas in the department of psychology. She’s co-founder of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion and the author of several best-selling books on the topic. In our conversation, Kristin explains what self-compassion is and why it matters. She explains the difference between self-compassion and self-esteem. Self-compassion is not about making excuses for yourself nor is it about self-pity, instead, it is very much an active, mindful state.

Now I know that the very notion of self-love can make a lot of people feel very uncomfortable. Kristin explains why this might be and shares many different ways we can give ourselves compassion. She recommends that people experiment and find a method that feels easy and pleasant for them.

We also talk about the ever-present problem of our brain’s ‘inner critic’ and how our parents influence the way we talk to ourselves. She also explains why self-compassion is most definitely not selfish, in fact, people who have it are kinder, more loving and less controlling of others.

Kristin also makes a key distinction between acts of self-care – such as taking a bath, having a massage – and self-compassion. She explains that self-compassion is actually a state of mind. It’s not something you have to do, it doesn’t take time or resources. It’s simply the opposite of being self-critical. It’s a way of thinking that has your own best interests at heart. But, this way of thinking doesn’t come naturally to us. As humans, we are hard-wired for self-criticism – it’s an evolutionary mechanism that makes us feel safe. But when navigating life, who do you want in your head: an enemy who belittles you or a friend who supports you?

At the end of our conversation today, Kristin takes us through a beautiful practical exercise in finding self-compassion that I think you will really enjoy. This is such an important topic that doesn’t get spoken about enough in the conversation around health – I hope you enjoy listening.

Disclaimer: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.*

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Watch the video version of the conversation here:

Connect with Kristin:

Kristin Neff Website

Self Compassion Community

Center for Mindful Self-Compassion Website

Twitter      Facebook

Kristin’s books:

Related Feel Better Live More Episodes:

#138 The Healing Power of Compassion with Dr Julian Abel

#104 How Being Kind Helps Your Immune System, Reduces Stress and Changes Lives with Dr David Hamilton

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*DISCLAIMER: Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.

†Disclosure: All books marked with a † are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We take part in Amazon’s affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon’s website. You are not charged any extra by using these links to purchase books.

Dr. Rangan Chatterjee MbChB, BSc (Hons), MRCP, MRCGP