Self-Compassion

Foundational Practice Iconself-compassion –

bringing comfort to ourselves in times of difficulty

The Practice

Self-compassion as a practice is about letting go. Letting go of self-judgment and all of the ways we keep ourselves small, constricted and stuck. It’s about offering ourselves a gentle embrace and opening ourselves to new possibilities. It’s about using this expansive energy to step into curiosity and acknowledge the growth available in every moment.

Kristen Neff, Ph.D. is one of the world’s leading experts on the practice of self-compassion. She has identified three components of Self-Compassion, 1) Self-Kindness, 2) Common Humanity, 3) Mindfulness.

The Research

  • The research shows that people who score high on tests of self-compassion have less depression and anxiety, and tend to be happier and more optimistic.
  • Some research shows that high self-compassion also influences how much we eat and could potentially help people in their weight loss efforts.
  • Showing compassion toward others can give a boost to your own self-compassion.
  • Research shows that self-compassion leads to taking more, not less responsibility for our actions.
  • Self-compassion helps us to take responsibility for our actions and makes us less likely to blame others for our mistakes or upsets.
  • People who practice self-compassion are more likely to experience guilt rather than shame for their mistakes and therefore take action to do better the next time around.
  • People who practice self-compassion are more likely to have a growth mindset and believe they can learn from their mistakes or failures.

How To Start Practicing

Kristen Neff, Ph.D. suggests eight exercises for practicing self-compassion. To learn more follow the links below.

How would you treat a friend? – How would things be different if you responded to yourself in the same way you supported a dear friend?

Self-Compassion Break – How do we learn to practice the three attributes of self-compassion in any moment?

Exploring self-compassion through writing – How can you learn to practice self-compassion in your darkest moments? How can you use the power of journaling to practice self-compassion?

The criticizer, the criticized, and the compassionate observer – How do we explore the sometimes conflicting views we hold of ourselves?

Changing your critical self-talk – How do we learn to reframe the voice of our inner critic?

Resources To Support Your Practice

Book

The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer

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TEDTalks

Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff

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Exercises

Greater Good in Action

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Video

The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self-Compassion

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Self-Compassion Part 1

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Self-Compassion Part 2

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Self-Compassion Part 3

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Self-Compassion Part 4

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Self-Compassion Part 5

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