Well-being and prosperity

The illusion of control

Self Criticism feeds the illusion of that we are in control of everything to keep us safe, loved and accepted.  Self acceptance means that we are not in control of everything and that the primitive mind is not responsible for controlling everything.

We affirm ourselves from the Care System that we are in fact safe, loved and accepted in society for who we are, based on our identity and core values so that the Amygdala does not have to keep protecting us from emotional harm.

Food For the lions

From an evolutionary point of view, being rejected from the group or society meant that essentially you became "food for the lions", so our Amygdalan fear system values acceptance into society and groups highly.

Having been constantly rejected at young age I found myself isolating myself in my "cave" and becoming self-reliant.  One of the challenges has been to overcome the primitive fears of rejection and to ask for help and expect acceptance.

One of the key things in self-acceptance is non-attachment to the outcome of social interactions, so perhaps if trying to join a social group or deepen a personal relation does not come off that Self Care and comforting overcomes the fear of rejection.  This approach also allows the delivery of the need to be met in perhaps a different way than what we envisaged.  This has happened for me personally.

From a young age and through schooling we are taught that there are winners and losers, that it is bad to achieve low grades or to perform poorly in music or sport, or even perhaps to have few friends.  Sometimes we judge ourselves critically, saying that we are not good enough that we should be better than we are.  The first part in self acceptance is to be compassionate for ourselves, even more compassionate than we would be to a friend or stranger.Self criticism is not so effective but kindliness and care is more effective.

Self criticism comes from the Amygdala primitive part of the brain but compassion comes from the mamilian care-giving system, which is a part of the modern part of the brain (cortical).  The high-level pattern is able to override the primitive emotion in this case.

In previous eras, the primitive defense system primes us for a flight or fight response to a situation say an predatory animal but in modern society it also triggers to defend our self concept.  The primitive defense systems do not assess well the threat to self concept and tend to create a compromised response.

One way to flip from fight or flight to compassion is to put both of our hands on our heart, a gesture of affection and compassion to oneself.  This is not only a gesture but it will induce a physiological response.  Tone of voice and body language are important also.

Alternative methods to self criticism is self encouragement. Rather being critical, being compassionate and encouraging to one self is much more effective.  It's important to notice that the self criticism is occurring and to use the self care approach every time.  Compassion is also required for what is driving the habit.  Acknowledgment and appreciation of the self is important.

adapted from source: Kristin Neff, PhD

Even negative thoughts are trying to have a positive benefit on us.

Some authors propose that for every negative statement made that we need five or six positive statements to counteract that one.  While this seems plausible and may work I find that it masks the original negative thought rather than resolving it.  What I have found is that a more effective process is in a non-judgmental way asking questions about the negative thought, in particular "because" as well as "and that's bad because".

Let's see how this works:

"I am angry."

"Because she hurt my feelings."

"Because she would not listen to my view."

"Not listening to my view is bad because I feel invalidated."

"I need to be validated since I don't validate myself"

"I don't validate myself because ..."

You can see in this process there are a few things.  Firstly if I validate myself then I don't need for her to validate me in this instance.  Secondly if I am not too attached to the outcome and my view is not heard on this occasion then there is no need for me to get angry.  Finally if I am not angry or defensive in this situation I then can choose one of a number of tools to try and reason, such as the love, label negotiate technique.


Empathy is a good emotion, except when it becomes so strong that one puts the other person before one self.  This is like being on an aircraft and the oxygen masks come down that you have to put the mask on yourself before helping others.  If you are passed out then you can't really help anyone else, yet us highly empathetic people tend to put other peoples' needs first.  

Hyper-empathic people might use anger to stand their ground and state their truth.  It might seem that anger is counter-intuitive but it does play an important role to identify who we are.  The emotions of anger and shame help define the Self


Think of something that is causing you suffering within your life. It may be that you are judging yourself over it.

Take a self-compassionate posture, such as crossing your hands over your heart or whatever gesture or posture that evokes a concept of compassion. 

Think of a single thing that you are struggling with and feel the warmth from your own hands and say the following phrases


This is a moment of suffering

And suffering is a part of life experienced by humanity

So may I be kind to myself in this moment

May I give myself the  compassion I need 



source: Kristin Neff, PhD

Unconditional Love

Be that toolbox or resource for yourself:

Love yourself "wild-crazy" and unconditionally.  This might be like a father figure. 

There is a certain expectancy and belief that I can go places and achieve things, grow, find my way, go places, do things

Gives freedom to take risks into expectance but having the freedom to fail in that the love is still unconditional even if the I don't find my way, fail at things and don't go places.