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Why it’s good to be kind to yourself

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In today’s world of high performance and even higher expectations it’s so easy to beat yourself up if you feel you aren’t achieving enough at work, not being healthy enough, not studying hard enough, not going to the gym regularly enough, not being successful or beautiful enough or giving enough time and attention to friends and family. Today’s video, while of course helping you to learn English, is also about feeling ok about giving yourself a break once in a while.

Featured image by Julia Caesar

Self Compassion


  • Self-flagellation: to inflict harm upon oneself as punishment for ones mistakes; excessive criticism of oneself
  • Under-performance: not being able to do something as well as it usually can be
  • to carve out time:  to make time for something


This is a wonderful video from The School of Life. Watch it as many times as you need to get the answers then you can check below to see how you got on.

  1. What are the consequences of too much self criticism? (0:30)
  2. When at times we loose the will to get out of bed, what does the video suggest we can do? (0.40)
  3. What are serious enemies of a good life? (1:00)
  4. If we fail at a task, what might our self-critical thoughts say? What should we say instead? (1:50)
  5. Is this statement true or false? Normal people are entirely well and sane. Why / why not?
  6. Are rich, famous and successful people the statistical norm? (2:33)
  7. Explain how luck plays a role in success (3:00)
  8. How can we feel value independent of our achievements, status, material success? (3:25)


  1. In your opinion, what advantages and disadvantages are there to self criticism?
  2. Imagine a friend of yours is currently working on a project at school or at work. It isn’t going well. What would you suggest they try and do?

Try using these modal verbs of advice:

He / she / they should….
He / she / they ought to ….(more formal expression)
He / she / they had better …(used for advice which needs to be followed urgently)


Image by Geraldsimon00 on Pixabay

Plastic Pollution is now a huge global issue. Using the following points write an article giving advice on how we can reduce plastic in our daily lives. Use the modal verbs of advice from the Speaking section.

  1. Use less disposable plastics
    Bring your own bags to the store, knives & forks to the office, or travel mug to Starbucks
  2. Stop buying water.
    Carry a reusable bottle in your bag and top up with filtered water.
  3. Recycle
    Currently less than 14 percent of plastic packaging is recycled.
  4. Support a bag tax or ban.
    Urge your elected officials to follow the lead of hundreds other cities and counties by introducing a plastic-bag ban.

Don’t forget to leave us a quick comment or share your writing answers in the comments box below.


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Listening Answers

  1. Too much self-criticism can lead to depression and under-performance
  2. It suggests we carve out time for the emotional state of self compassion. Time for us to be good to ourselves
  3. depression and self-hatred
  4. Self critical thoughts might say we were foolish for failing. As what we had been trying to achieve wasn’t even remotely normal, it’s ok to fail at it.
  5. False. Nobody is entirely well or sane.
  6. No. In fact, by a huge margin, undramatic, quiet failure is.
  7. Luck is a genuine feature of existence and sometimes, no matter how much hard work and dedication you put into something, without luck, you may never be as successful as you hoped for, so don’t blame yourself for this.
  8. By remembering the love from friends and family that have been kind to us in childhood.


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