finding your inner balance healing with self-forgiveness exercises self-compassion vs self-criticism

Finding Your Inner Balance — Healing with Self-Forgiveness Exercises

Finding your inner balance is a process. It involves replacing negative self-talk with positive words. The emphasis on self-criticism can get out of control and destroy our well-being. Healing with self-forgiveness exercises is key to establishing a healthy, balanced mindset.

To begin the work of inner healing, we need to understand how the psyche works. There are many ways to describe the self. One way is to see the self as the aspect of the ego that contains our identity, personalities, and instincts. These mechanisms are a major part of our worldview. Beyond the ego is that aspect of consciousness that observes our experience. In ancient spiritual traditions, this observer is called the spirit or the soul.

In addition to the default mechanisms of the ego is the programming we from our culture. The programming of our cultural beliefs has a powerful impact on our worldview. The beliefs and values of the cultural narrative can override our inherent natural values. They can distort our worldview, which affects the self.

Achieving Inner Balance

The prejudiced values of the cultural narrative can distort our natural values of compassion and empathy. These thought distortions become part of the internal dialogue we call self-criticism.

Self-compassion and self-criticism are two terms that are as far apart as you get. Both are thinking patterns that affect the psych, but they have very different results.

The ego is a necessary element of the psyche that can control our awareness. Our default mode can be beneficial when we need to focus our attention on things like learning. So, when the ego is in control of awareness, we are often fixated on a specific task. It happens when you a lost in thought. It is our default mode of awareness.

Living in default mode with the ego in control of awareness means we are not present and aware of bodies. Being present makes us self-aware, which helps us become more present. Achieving inner balance helps us maintain presence while in activity.

Self-Compassion vs Self-Criticism

Self-criticism is a thinking pattern of self-talk that undermines our self-value. Some refer to self-value as self-esteem. However, self-value and self-esteem are different things. Self-value is an internal measurement of our worthiness to belong, to be loved, and to accept who we are. If you have high self-value, you accept your flaws and failures. A high self-value makes us aware and compassionate. We can empathize with the concerns of others because we have confidence in ourselves.

On the other hand, esteem is the respect or admiration for something. Self-esteem depends upon external factors like success and achievement, which bolster the ego. The term self-esteem means esteem for the self, which is our perception of our worth and value compared to others. It’s about seeing ourselves and others as commodities that change in value depending on the circumstances.

Add compassion and self, and you get “Compassion for the self.” It means compassion turned inward, to care and feel empathy for ourselves. Being kind, understanding, and accepting ourselves gives us the perspective we need. This is true in times of failure and setbacks. It’s about being our own best friend.

When we are filled with compassion, it flows outward in the form of kindness and empathy. It helps us to perceive the intrinsic value of other people and the planet. It’s the gateway to the experience of oneness.

Why Finding Your Inner Balance is Hard

Now, you might be wondering, “If compassion for the self is so great, why do we see so little of it? Why is it so hard to achieve?” Well, society plays a significant role here. We live in a world where we’re often bombarded with expectations, comparisons, and unrealistic standards.

The culture exerts pressure on unrealistic standards. We must be perfect in appearance, career, relationships, or personal achievements. Constantly striving for perfection leaves no room for compassion when we fall short. We end up chasing ever-changing standards, and the culture always has something to sell us.

The dominant culture discourages self-compassion. Most of our cultural narrative is controlled by commercialism and Western organized religion. These entities want division so that they can maintain control. Finding your inner balance reduces the control of cultural influences.

The Destructive Elements of Self-Esteem

The emphasis on self-esteem begins early in life. It sets up the war between self-compassion and self-esteem. The school and religious systems of Western culture reinforce the importance of self-esteem. That’s because confident students are easier to teach. It comes in handy for the tedious task of memorization.

What do they want children to memorize? They program hate for themselves as inferior, sinful beings, and one of the tools is self-talk. It’s not enough to hear preaching about being unworthy. They have you read it in their holy book and then contemplate and pray about it.

The emphasis on self-importance produces students who believe they are superior to everyone else. It promotes a false positive attitude based on false confidence. Why does the school system promote this false identity? It is simple: students are easier to handle when they are both positive and confident. The real world does not treat everyone this way. The self-esteem strategy ignores the statistical fact that most people are average. The long-term effects of this kind of ego magnification don’t matter to the school system.

The world is heavily influenced by the teaching methods of Western religion. In the Western educational system, the primary goal is measuring the retention of data. They don’t teach students how to learn. So, students learn to pass tests, not learn. Unfortunately, the emphasis on self-esteem produces people who are selfish and self-centered. Self-esteem emphasizes outward appearances, success, and achievement. This boosts the ego. It ignores our higher values.

The primary focus of self-esteem is to project a positive image. The emphasis on image creates a slippery slope toward entitlement-oriented and selfish behaviors. These focal point elements are the opposite of the components of compassion for the self. Read them and see if you identify with them.

Your value is based on social standards.
— Projecting a positive self-image at all times.
— Employment earning power and return on investment for the corporation.
— The culture determines your purpose.
— Your Value is based on social and economic status.
— Religious beliefs dictate your values and personal rights.

The Results of Focusing on Self-Esteem

Self-esteem goes well with ignorance and hate. Self-esteem is a byproduct of an inflated ego. When self-esteem becomes inflated, it often manifests as a belief in superiority. Superiority leads to a sense of entitlement and an intolerance for alternative viewpoints.

Tunnel vision

When a person is fueled by arrogance, they become self-righteousness. They don’t realize this mindset is limiting, creating tunnel vision. They are less inclined to engage in constructive conversations with those of differing beliefs.

At the same time, they are more likely to dismiss differing perspectives. This mindset paves the way for hate and ignorance to thrive. You’ll find this mindset at the heart of extremist, alt-right conservatism. It highlights the battle of self-compassion vs self-criticism.

Mind-Numbing Social Media

Social media controls the mind through negative scenarios and conspiracy theories. It is easy to surround yourself with like-minded people. But this only reinforces beliefs and leaves no room for alternate opinions.

Self-imposed isolation becomes an echo chamber. This tendency is the byproduct of heightened self-esteem. It undermines critical thinking and a healthy skeptical mindset. Self-imposed isolation prevents them from understanding other cultures and ideas. As a result, hate and ignorance become the norm. Hatred becomes the refuge for those unable or unwilling to confront harmful narratives.

Superiority Complex

Having an inflated sense of self leads to the belief in superiority. The “us versus them” attitude justifies discrimination and violence. It targets those seen as unworthy. It’s a mindset that promotes prejudice, discrimination, and violence. By tearing others down and dehumanizing them, individuals bolster their self-esteem. The superiority complex showcases the war between self-compassion and self-esteem. It is the breeding ground for racism.

Loss of Vulnerability and Empathy

Paradoxically, individuals with high self-esteem often suffer from a fear of vulnerability. Fear hinders their ability to admit mistakes or acknowledge their limitations. It effectively prevents them from engaging in meaningful self-reflection. They avoid introspection. This keeps them in their self-imposed bubble. It cuts them off from growth opportunities. It also feeds ignorance and resentment towards those who challenge their worldview.

Constant Comparison and Evaluation

Self-esteem relies on comparison and evaluation, often leading to unfavorable outcomes. It involves the need to feel better than others to maintain a sense of worthiness. The focus on self-esteem is a slippery slope. It leads to narcissism, self-centeredness, and selfishness. It places a high value on self-importance, self-indulgence, and self-gratification. Self-esteem is fragile, as failures or setbacks deflate our self-esteem. Comparison is the weapon of the ego in the battle of self-compassion vs self-criticism. It helps self-criticism win.

The Quest for Excellence

The quest for excellence affects some personality types more than others. For example, compliant Enneagram types one, two, and six do well with structured memorization. Type three measures self-worth by achievement. It is easy for them to bend the rules to rise above others. The corporate work culture thrives on this type of motivation. It produces short-term results but has long-term negative health consequences for the individual.

“This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inoculated into the student who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career.” ― Albert Einstein, Why Socialism?

Religion Is Not Your Friend

Organized religion is responsible for creating this chain reaction of harmful thinking. Why would a religion want to do that? Because they profit from your insecurities and fears. It builds on the idea that we are all unworthy, unholy, and sinful. Then, it creates fear in order to profit from them.

Profiting From Fear

Western religion thrives on our worst fears and deepest insecurities. It whispers tales of failure, rejection, and unworthiness to make us customers.

Negative thinking opens the door for the inner critic to breed self-doubt and self-criticism. Many Western religions teach we are born as sinful beings. Such teachings set the stage for self-criticism, self-doubt, shame, and unworthiness. And they sell the antidote.

Heaven and Hell

Other common themes revolve around divine punishment. You are either going to heaven or hell. Hell doesn’t sound like a good place to spend eternity. Our natural inclination is to seek security and avoid the fear of the unknown. It makes the selling of the afterlife the most profitable business model ever devised. These fear-based narratives perpetuate negative self-talk. They instill a constant sense of impending doom. Living in fear makes us susceptible to groupthink manipulation tactics. Rather than promoting self-acceptance and growth, divine punishment undermines our self-worth.

It is crucial to question the dogmas of religion and culture. We should focus on cultivating a healthy, skeptical mindset with compassion for the self. By encouraging open-mindedness, we liberate ourselves from the burden of myths and superstition. Challenging religious narratives is healthy. Embracing an inclusive science-based perspective can help dismantle the foundations of negativity. Western religious doctrines discount our divine nature and natural moral compass. These tools are all we need to forge our healthy spiritual path.

Learning and Achieving Inner Balance

achieving inner balance easy self-compassion exercises self-compassion positive affirmations reflective journaling for inner balance

A healthy learning environment promotes inclusive learning of differing levels. People learn at different rates, but the educational system ignores this fact. Most public school systems cannot handle students with varying learning abilities. Segregation by “ability” is routine to track learning outcomes. This reinforces class distinctions.

A mixed-learning classroom would be too challenging in the typical public school system. Segregation makes it easier for the teachers. Teachers conduct tests to prove they are teaching. That means the curriculum is based on memorization of things that are easy to test. Students are taught how to pass tests, not how to learn or develop critical thinking skills.

Children learn that fitting in is essential to success in this learning environment. Therefore, it is common for people who don’t fit in to fail. Take, for instance, people like Albert Einstein.

“It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry, for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom. Without this, it goes to wrack and ruin without fail.” ― Albert Einstein.

The following elements focus on “your value to the culture.” It makes you a “human doing” rather than a “human being.” Your value depends on your position in the cultural hierarchy. The emphasis is on your value to the culture.

Healing with Self-Forgiveness Exercises

Forgiveness is the act of releasing someone from a real or perceived transgression. Self-forgiveness is releasing yourself from the guilt and shame of the past. Applying self-forgiveness frees you from emotional burdens, which gives you a fresh perspective. What are the easy self-compassion exercises, and how do you do them?

1. Learn to identify harmful thoughts

Learning to monitor your thoughts is the first key step in positive change. Many people find themselves trapped in a cycle of negative thinking. Observing your thoughts and noting their impact on your emotions, you learn what triggers your low self-esteem. Learning to monitor your thoughts is like replacing old rusty gears in your mental machinery. It makes way for new, vibrant ones to thrive.

Becoming self-aware is necessary for observing one’s thoughts. Self-observation is a skill you can learn. One way to do this is to write down one’s internal dialogue.

The Repeating Question Exercise

Asking the same question and seeking a different answer get below the superficial answers to the truth. It is a healing with self-forgiveness exercises that give you surprising results. It’s simple. Ask the question or, better yet, get a partner to ask it, and then you answer and write down your answer.

Here the simple question to help you start drilling down into your psyche. Tell me a way that I need to forgive myself. This question will give you a wealth of data from your subconscious.

Reflective Journaling for Inner Balance

For this exercise, you’ll need paper and a pen. Handwriting is something that allows us to slow down and pay attention to what we are thinking. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling simply write what you are thinking. The more you write the more data you will have to help you in your process of growth.

You’ll likely find some patterns or themes. Spotting these common thought patterns gives us a place to start inner work. Reflective journaling for inner balance doesn’t take much time. Find a time that works best for you. Some people like to do it for a mental break from work.

2. Remove and Replace Harmful Programming

Just like a gardener prunes plants to make them flourish, we must identify and prune the sources of harmful programming. Evaluate the people and sources that perpetuate negativity and self-doubt. Surround yourself with people who lift you up. Seek out positive influences and limit exposure to toxic environments. Remember, you have the power to create a nurturing environment that is a place of growth and self-acceptance.

To remove harmful values and thoughts, you must reject them. This will not be easy because these scripts are habitual practices. So, when you catch yourself repeating them, you must stop. Here’s a simple process to do this.

Take a deep breath. Acknowledge whatever the thought or value is, then say to yourself, I reject this, or I no longer believe that. Once you have rejected the harmful thought, you can replace it with a positive script.

Using Self-Compassion Positive Affirmations

The important thing is to find uplifting statements that resonates with you and which counteracts the harmful script. Here are some examples.

The negative thought script is: I am unworthy to receive love and kindness. You replace it with, I am worthy of love and kindness, both from others and from myself.

If the negative thought script is: I am a failure because of past mistakes. The replacement phrase could be, I forgive myself for past mistakes and embrace my flaws.

In case the negative thought script is: I can’t do it, I can’t handle this task, I’ll mess it up. Then, the statement that counteracts this belief would be: I am capable of handling whatever challenges come my way.

Self-compassion positive affirmations will change your mindset immediately. Be sure to remove the reject the harmful script first.

3. Practice Japa Meditation and Mindfulness

Finding your inner balance requires balancing silence and activity. Japa Meditation and mindfulness are two of the best tools for bringing the silence of transcendence into your routine. The fourth state of awareness is pure consciousness. It is one of the healing with self-forgiveness exercises that people overlook. But when the mind is in the silence of the transcendent, it can release the burdens that bind us.

Mindfulness is built on the simple two-step meditation process. It will help you bring the silence of the transcendent into your daily routine. But like many of the easy self-compassion exercises, it is so simple that we often forget to do it. That’s the key. You don’t even have to set aside time to do it because you can do it with all of your activities.

4. Cultivate Empathy and Understanding

As we cultivate empathy for ourselves, we heal our souls which helps self-compassion become a part of our lives. Allow yourself the grace to learn from your mistakes. Practice self-compassion and treat yourself with kindness, just as you would a dear friend. Embrace your flaws as unique qualities that make you beautifully human. These acts of self-love will infuse your self-esteem with unwavering strength.

5. Enhance Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking is your secret weapon against negative programming. Most don’t think of it as one of the healing with self-forgiveness exercises. However, it empowers you to confront your inner critic and its self-criticism. It gives you the strength to change irrational beliefs. As you hone your critical thinking skills, you develop a discerning mindset. It is this mindset that shields you from the discouraging narratives of society.

Final Thoughts

The war between self-compassion and negative self-talk is a battle we cannot afford to lose. Finding your inner balance is key to winning this conflict. By understanding the compassion of the self, we gain the knowledge to emerge victorious. Let us arm ourselves with compassion for the self. Then, we can spread its positive influence and create a world where love and understanding prevail.