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Posted 08/05/2022 in Category 1 by DAVID CHARLTON

How to Deal with Self-Criticism using Self Compassion – Part 1

This is a short solo episode and the first of 3 episodes where I share 2 reminders of what Mental Toughness is and apply it to different domains.  The first clip is from Mental Toughness pioneer, Doug Strycharczyk which was recorded in our very first episode and the second clip comes from Sebastian De Chavez an elite professional rugby player for Newcastle Falcons who appeared in episode 104.  

I then go on to share a case study and one helpful exercise taken from compassionate focused therapy to help people who experience self-criticism and are very hard on themselves off the back of failing or making mistakes in sport or life.

Key Learning Points

  • Doug states that Mental Toughness is about “how we respond mentally to things that happen to us.” 
  • Seb confirms this in a professional rugby setting and considers mental toughness as “being able to get your job done, when things aren’t going your way.”
  • In sport when someone makes a mistake, often as an onlooker or spectator we are better placed to say “they’re only human” and display compassion.
  • Yet, when we are the culprit making the mistake, we often find displaying self-compassion very tough.  For many it is virtually impossible, especially in sport when you and your performances are being judged or at least you think they are.  And your emotions are so up and down because you are striving for competence.
  • A common thing people get wrong when thinking of being self-compassionate or being kind to yourself is that it equals self-pity or that you are being “soft”.  
  • Self-compassion doesn’t mean that you are lacking in motivation either.
  • Understanding the pain that you are put yourself through by being self-critical is vital and by trying to feel compassionate you can empower yourself to make better decisions.
  • Encouraging, loving and supportive language is a much more powerful motivator than negativity and fear which is often a habit a lot of people can slip into, especially in a sporting environment.

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Relevant Podcast Episodes

Ep001: Doug Strycharczyk – The Importance of Mental Toughness

Ep104: Seb De Chaves – The Psychological Demands of Elite Professional Rugby

Ep065: Dr Amy Izycky – Encouraging Mentally Healthy Cultures in Sport

Ep128: Paula Eddy-Wilcox - Can You Show Vulnerability and Be Mentally Tough? Yes!

Ep105: Hannah Bromley – Overcoming Psychological Challenges in Professional Women’s Football

Other Relevant Blogs and Resources

Blog - 5 Coaching Tips To Develop Mentally Tough Footballers

Blog - Coach Development Helping Athletes Overcome Fear Of Failure

Blog - Mental Health Guidance For Coaches When Supporting Athletes

Blog – 5 Ways To Create A Psychological Safe Sporting Environment

Blog – 3 Tips To Deal With Bullying In Sport

Kristin Neff Website on Self-Compassion

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