• Podcast Review: Dumping Your Inner Drill Sergeant – Happiness Lab Podcast

    Podcast episode Review: Dumping your inner drill sergeant

    Podcast: The Happiness Lab
    Host: Dr. Laurie Santos
    Guest: Kristin Neff, PhD

    I reviewed this particular podcast episode because it has key points in terms of how we treat ourselves in terms of being self-critical.  This is critical.

    Intended Audience:

    • Worriers
    • Anxiety sufferers
    • Those who have lower esteem
    • Those who have trouble sleeping (to get perspective)
    • Those who struggle with self confidence
    • Those looking to optimize their performance (peak performance)
    • Self/Personal growth junkies


    The podcast discusses how we feel shame about when we make mistakes.  We say that we are bad not that I did something that was not quite correct or just made a mistake.  Self criticism is common and nasty.  Dr. Neff talks about when we make mistake, we feel threatened, think we are the problem, or as in the old show lost in space show “danger Will Robinson”.  We go into fight – flight – freeze response.  And our response – to attack – ourselves!  This creates shame and we want to go into hiding (freeze response).  So we make ourselves LESS safe.  We are doing that.

    Have you ever noticed – we don’t do this to our friends as much when they make a mistake but not so much to ourselves.  Dr. Neff discusses research about how being more self-compassionate people essentially was more resilient when they did not hit the mark than those who were more self-critical or had an artificial boosting of esteem.  Dr. Neff breaks down the difference between self – esteem and self – compassion.

    Self – compassion – is a part of being self-forgiving and self-supportive.  Essentially its treating yourself as you would a very good friend when they are in need.  Self – compassion is self-acceptance.  Dr. Neff references a therapy luminary Dr. Carl Rogers’ quote, “when I accept myself, the more I can change”.

    Being self-critical or inner drill sergeant is like having an enemy on the inside “helping” you to fight the enemy on the outside.

    Mindfulness is a way to help with self-compassion and how that can help with your inner drill sergeant.  Essentially, mindfulness allows you to be aware and accept your feelings, emotions and situations.  So, it gives permission to be human.

    The podcast goes even further with distinguishing the links and differences amongst mindfulness and self-compassion; and how self-compassion is like a super power.

    *MEN* — research shows that self-compassion decreased likelihood of soldiers developing, PTSD, less drug and alcohol abuse, and lower suicide rates.

    Self-compassion is not weakness. It’s a form of being (appropriately) vulnerable for BOTH men and women. We will go into later article about how men can be self-compassionate and still feel like a man.

    What To Do Next? 

    • Think on what you would say to a good friend who failed at something – then Practice repeating that yourself daily for a week.  Just to get into some since of habit
    • Consider a mindfulness practice to be aware of negative thoughts and how to let yourself off the hook
    • Keep a thought record – Identify some thoughts you tell yourself when you don’t do well or fail at something.  Next identify your feelings that are associated with that thought, Next the behaviors to see how it affects you.  Click HERE to get an example of one.

    CAT Nips

    • Self-compassion is NOT weakness
    • Self-compassion is NOT designed to not strive to reach goals, it enables goal striving
    • Self-compassion can make it SAFE to fail while providing resilience to bounce back
    • Self – compassion allows the accepting of flaws and failings so you can do something about them
    • Self – compassion allows you to be your own supportive fan
    • Self – compassion is not
    • Beating yourself up is sooo 1980s (my take)