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On self-compassion

Self-compassion has become popular in psychology over the last few years, and I wanted to spend some-time talking about it today.

Why practice self-compassion? Self-compassion builds resilience. This is because when you are self-compassionate, you learn to see failure as an opportunity rather than despair or an indication of defeat.

What can make it hard to practice self-compassion? A lot of people have difficulties practicing self-compassion because it feels weird and awkward. People often also believe various myths about self-compassion, such as that it will make you self-indulgent, lazy, and too soft on yourself.

How do you begin practicing self-compassion?

  • What I have found most helpful in nurturing self-compassion is to notice how you respond to failure (e.g., with self-criticism) and instead responding with the 3 elements of self-compassion (self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness). For example, you may notice yourself saying, " I slept in until 10 am today. I am so lazy", and then reframe those thoughts to "I slept in late today because I had a stressful week at work and was very tired. What will make me feel better right now is going for a run."

  • Dr. Neff has several practical exercises to practice self-compassion on her website:

  • Research has also shown that mindfulness meditation improves self-compassion.


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