Category: Self-Care

Criticism or Compassion?

Which do you prefer…criticism or compassion? Seems like an easy choice right? I mean…who would choose compassion over criticism? Criticism hurts, it arouses our defenses, and brings with it self-doubt and pain. So who would willingly choose criticism over compassion? No one right?

Well, maybe not from other people but many choose criticism over compassion toward ourselves on a regular basis. We each have a critical voice that develops over our lifetime. Some of us have a harsher, stronger critical voice than others. It speaks harsh criticism with words like “you should have” or “why didn’t you” or worse barraging us with words like “loser”, “failure”, “worthless”.

There are many reasons why this inner voice develops. Sometimes it is an internalized voice of a critical important person in our lives, like a parent. Sometimes it is the result of abuse and trauma we experience. Sometimes it develops to keep us achieving at a high level, which we call perfectionism. And, sometimes it develops to keep others in our life happy with us. Mostly, it exists because we are all sinners living in a broken, fallen world with other broken people and as a result we experience shame. The shame emotion says “there is something wrong with you”. Let’s face it, there is something wrong with us….it’s called sin. Shame didn’t exist prior to the fall (Genesis 3). And since then, we have lived under shame’s tyranny.

Now if someone were speaking shaming criticism to us on a regular basis, we would consider it abusive and it would create deep sadness, fear, and pain. If we heard someone speaking to a friend that way, we would rise to his or her defense. Yet, inner criticism gets free reign in our mind and heart. It impacts our emotions and relationships. Instead of questioning it, challenging it, or defending ourselves we try harder to be perfect, please others, or quiet/numb the voice through a variety of addictions.

Inner criticism gets free reign in our mind and heart impacting our emotions. Click To Tweet

Sadly we don’t even recognize it as criticism…it just becomes our inner dialogue. Yet with this strong inner critic come feelings of sadness and anxiety. That is the natural result of living under constant criticism.

So what is the solution? Compassion….self-compassion. We understand nurture and compassion for others but often are mystified on how to give it to ourselves. Learning self-compassion, giving ourselves permission to be human, and embracing our imperfections is the road to peace and freedom.

Learning self-compassion and giving ourselves permission to be human is the road to freedom. Click To Tweet

Beloved Jesus followers, let me share something incredible. God sent Jesus to die for all of our sin and shame. ALL of it was laid on Him on the cross. When we believe in Him…we not only have ALL of our past, present, and future sins paid for but we receive His perfection! That perfection we strive for is already ours. God sees us always and forever as covered by the blood of Christ, perfectly righteous. So embracing your imperfections allows Jesus to be glorified. Embracing this and laying down the slavery of abuse and perfectionism is good news!

God sees us always and forever as covered by the blood of Christ, perfectly righteous. Click To Tweet

“For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Persmission to be Human is Self Compassion


For more on this topic check out Dr. Kristin Neff’s Self Compassion Website. Here you will find a great description of self-compassion and exercises to help you grow it. You can also check out a few of my previous blogs on the topic: Embracing Imperfection and Finding Freedom and Be a Friend to Yourself. Need more help, find a good counselor. There is always hope!


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Aimee’s Self-Care Tool Box


This is a follow-up to my post on rest. I thought I would share the things that I consider self-care. It’s important to know what things recharge you so that you can replenish your energy.  This is different for everyone based on temperament and preferences. I give myself permission to include self-care into my daily and weekly routine. This isn’t frivolous but needed recharge time. When I do this, I am a better wife, mom, friend, and counselor.

  • Coffee while on Twitter or watching Hulu (this is a picture of my favorite mug ) ❤️
  • Listening to favorite Music: I love a variety of music. Have worship music, pop music, country music, 80s music. What I choose depends on how I feel.
  • Watching funny TV shows or movies
  • Spending time with those I love
  • Fun games (not too analytical but fun…at my home we do a lot of analytical games…Table Top 😁)
  • Watching football (especially the Texas Aggies or anyone who has been an Aggie)
  • Dancing with my hubby (I’m a Texan so two-stepping only please)
  • Watching my kid play soccer. (Go Pumas!)
  • Relaxing in beautiful weather (70 degrees, patio dining, long walks)
  • Long talks with good girlfriends
  • Reading
  • Listening to favorite podcasts
  • Manicures and Pedicures
  • Mexican food (I could eat mexican food for every meal)
  • Snuggling during super cold weather. Sitting by the fire
  • Laying by the pool in hot weather.

What is self-care for you??

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Defining Rest.

I have to be honest but today I am exhausted. And not the I could go sleep exhausted but the my brain is not working well exhausted. You know, the kind of mental and emotional fatigue that just settles in and keeps you stuck…on the couch…watching Netflix….

We all have these times in life. We’ve finished a big project, we burned the candle at both ends, our kids kept us up too late, stress is piling up, or we are dealing with strong emotions (panic, fear, anxiety, grief, trauma, or sadness).

This is a life reality for all of us. None of us is super human; none of us can keep going and going and going without eventually burning out. Life is hard sometimes, if we are honest, life is hard a lot of times. So what do we do? How can we manage the demands of our lives but find time to rest and recharge?

In our busy, hectic culture, rest is an unknown concept. As I have gotten older, I have decided that rest is so much more than getting a good night sleep (although that is clearly important). I think rest is more comprehensive. I think it involves:

Values: Knowing what is important and a priority in our life. So often we spend time and energy on things that really hold no value for us.

Boundaries: Knowing our limits and being able to say no to things (even good things) of lesser value to us. Knowing our values can help guide how and when we set boundaries around our selves and our time.

Self-Care: Making sure that we know the things we need to function healthily and what things are revitalizing and recharging for us. Taking care of our whole selves emotionally, mentally, physically, relationally, and spiritually.

Self-Compassion: We are all imperfect and limited. Self-compassion is recognizing and accepting our limits without judging ourselves harshly. It’s giving our selves grace and permission to be human.

Safe Mutual Connections: We are made for connection with other people. People who are aware of their own struggles and imperfections. People who accept us for who we are (warts and all). Spending time with people like this is refreshing. There is no judgment, just love, grace, and freedom.

These are all ideas found throughout scripture and modeled by Jesus. Maybe our Creator God knew how much we would need rest. Perhaps that is why He rested on day seven. Perhaps that is why he calls us to rest in Him. Perhaps that is why He initiates and draws us to Him. Perhaps that’s why He says “It is finished” (John 19:30).

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17


Defining Rest


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