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Learning to Be Kind to YourselfSample

Learning to Be Kind to Yourself

DAY 2 OF 4

Battling the Inner Critic 

The inner critic can be like a mean friend who tells you that you aren’t good enough to be in their crowd, who makes you feel fat or clumsy or not cool. 

In her book How to Be Yourself, Ellen Hendriksen characterizes the inner critic as being like that terrible coach that attempts to motivate a child through harsh criticism and put-downs. This can result in the child simply giving up the sport. In contrast, she describes a supportive coach as one who encourages but who also offers guidance to help the child improve, “creating for ourselves a supportive environment in which we can try hard things.” 

We need to become a supportive coach for ourselves.

When we notice ourselves moving into a cycle of self-criticism, it might be a signal of something deeper going on. We can pause and ask ourselves, What do you need right now? And then we can offer ourselves some words of kindness. We can remind ourselves that the voice of the critic is not to be trusted in these moments. 

As you become more aware of the inner critic, develop some mental patterns for your response when the negative thoughts plague you. Beware of the temptation to berate yourself more when you notice these thoughts surfacing! Instead, offer yourself words of compassion. You may even want to think of yourself as a small child who has fallen and skinned a knee. Have some ready phrases at hand for yourself. 

Here are some words of comfort that I have written out for myself. I have phrased them as I would speak to a friend, and then included meaningful Scripture references that affirm the truth behind these words. 

God wants you to rest.

“The Lord . . . leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3

God will take care of you.

“Do not worry . . . look at the birds.” Matthew 6:25-26

Practice: Write out some words of comfort on reminder cards for yourself. Phrase these as you would say them to a friend, and then include meaningful Scripture references that affirm the truth behind these words. 

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About this Plan

Learning to Be Kind to Yourself

Many of us are troubled by a stream of negative thoughts. But Scripture offers hope, beauty, and comfort. This four-day reading plan points the way to greater self-compassion as we learn to see ourselves through the eyes...


We would like to thank InterVarsity Press for providing this plan. For more information, please visit:

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