Self-love and compassion are things I have intermittently blogged about for three years now. I typically include the disclaimer that I’m not referring to “narcissism” or “conceit” because, believe it or not, that’s the way it is defined in some reference dictionaries! Finally, some research for the skeptics who are unwittingly killing themselves with all of their self-rejection and “logic-only” thinking.

I personally discovered that self-compassion is radically life changing. I used to have a negative inner critic who worked overtime. I was the Queen of “Not Enoughness,” as I call it. No matter how great I looked, how much I accomplished, or even if I seemed to leap over tall buildings in a single bound, it was simply not enough.

It was “hell on earth” as far as I’m concerned. Finally, one day I decided that I had had enough. I made up my mind to go after that childhood dream to find and use the “Secrets of the Universe” to find more joy, happiness, inner confidence, and self-acceptance. My journey was born more out of desperation than frivolity.

I decided back then, over ten years ago, that I was going to forsake my paradigm of how “life is” and go out on a quest to find new insights. At that time, science was still belittling meditation and the “Law of Attraction” was really over the top “woo-woo.” Anyhow, desperate people sometimes do desperate things… but it worked! Whatever it takes, it’s worth the trouble and courage I had to muster up to break out of the herd mentality.

I didn’t need research to tell me that having a mean inner critic was not productive. In fact, it is destructive. It’s even associated with harming your health. Just notice how awful you feel when you nervously walk into a networking event with sweaty palms and a frog in your throat. Why? Because you are so self-absorbed that you can’t focus on others. You are also triggering your body’s stress response! There are several reasons for this, and I really do understand.

The answer lies in making friends with your feelings and learning how to change your perception about them. It’s also – and this is critical – learning how to “ennoble” the ego/inner critic. Heal those old cellular memory wounds and give those voices a new role. You can also gain lots of new wisdom. When you understand “how,” even if it takes some courage and commitment, it’s not as difficult as you might think.

I can say that I’ve personally experienced the power of retraining my brain and perception before research started popping up to support it. Hence, for my forward thinking and courage, I’m ahead of the curve. My motto is to “be informed, but not intimidated” by science. I don’t need permission to listen to my own inner wisdom. And it is nice to have the research to help those of you who need the logical research before you step out to innovate.

Here is what Dr. Kristin Neff, an associate professor of human development at the University of Texas at Austin, has to say:

“They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be. Self-compassion is really conducive to motivation.”

Go ahead, go for it, and accept yourself. It makes change and growth a whole lot easier, actually. It is not condoning behavior; yet coming from a place of “I’m okay” makes changing yourself paradoxically easier to do. Again, it’s called, “growth,” and that is a part of life. You’ll be a better leader for it!

Author's Bio: 

Valencia Ray, M.D. teaches business owners and corporate leaders how their amazing brain can actually hijack personal power -- not in the abstract, but in the context of integrating business and personal life. Dr. Ray, a board-certified eye surgeon and medical business owner for over 20 years before selling her practice, shares her own life changing process. By sharing her story, she helps others to expand their vision and learn that by living with purpose and confidence, it is possible to have a more integrated, healthier lifestyle – with less struggle, more inner peace and more abundance.

For more information and to contact her regarding dynamic, inspirational keynotes, trainings in collaborative leadership and team building, entrepreneurship and coaching programs, visit her website at