“Self-compassion is a way of emotionally recharging our batteries. Rather than becoming drained by helping others, self-compassion allows us to fill up our internal reserves, so that we have more to give to those who need us.” – Dr. Kristin Neff
Self-Compassion is a topic that comes up with most clients I work with. In a world where there are negative messages around every corner, self-compassion can be in short supply. One of my favorite researchers in this area is Dr. Kristin Neff. In her research she has found that one of the best predictors of resiliency through hards times is self-compassion. The act of self-compassion can also positively impact our mental and physical health. In therapy sessions, I find that clients can be really clear on what they need to get rid of: negative thoughts, critical or judgmental people, inappropriate shame or guilt. What we also need to get clear on is what to invite in: self-compassion.
So what is self-compassion? Simply it is “the process of turning compassion inward.”
Dr. Kristin Neff’s research shows that these are three elements of self-compassion:
- Common Humanity
Notice how they stand up to their opposites: self-kindness vs. judgement, common humanity vs. isolation, mindfulness vs. over-identification.
Are you curious about where you are in these different areas? Check out Dr. Neff’s website and take the quiz to find out where you thrive with self-compassion and areas to improve.
How to we invite more self-compassion into our lives?
A simple self-compassion exercise is to think about how you would respond, treat or care for a good friend going through what you are experiencing. Then respond, treat or care for yourself the same way.
More self compassion exercises can be found at:
Click on Practice and select from the drop down menu to discover additional self-compassion practices. Be patient and kind to yourself as you are inviting more self-compassion into your life and know that we are all working to improve ourselves!
Neff, K. (2011). Self-compassion: stop beating yourself up and leave insecurity behind. New York, William Morrow.