Learn how to be your own best friend.

  • When your best idea fails, you miss the deadline, you forget your anniversary, or you disappoint your best friend, how do you handle it?
  • Do you stress and fret? Do you smack yourself on the forehead in frustration and run yourself down with self-directed criticism? Do you berate yourself for not having it all together?
  • When you’re suffering through the fallout of your own shortcomings and missteps, it doesn’t serve you to pile on the pain.

You need a break.  You need understanding and compassion.  From yourself.

What is Self-compassion?

Self-compassion is simply the practice of extending to yourself, the mercy, sympathy, and support you would offer a struggling, stressed out friend.

The last decade has produced more than 200 evidence-rich studies in highly respected scientific journals regarding this relatively new field of study. According to research, the practice of self-compassion improves happiness as well as intimate relationships.

Dr. Kristen Neff is an Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin and is a pioneer in the field of self-compassion. She has devoted her career to self-compassion research. In multiple media outlets, websites, and her book Self Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, Neff discusses the benefits of self-compassion and how personal application of the practice transformed her life. Neff notes how enriched her life has become since she started “being a good friend to myself.”

How Self-compassion Exceeds Self-esteem.

In her audio learning course, Self-Compassion Step by Step: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, Dr. Neff distinguishes self-compassion from self-esteem, commenting that “Our culture teaches us to use self-shaming for motivation and to build self-esteem by constantly measuring our worth against everyone else.”

Isn’t it true that we’ve embraced the self-esteem concept, telling ourselves that we are all special, all chosen, and all above average?

Most of us discover that we cannot all be on top all of the time and, as we topple into an average heap, our self-worth crumbles and our inner dialogue no longer rings true.

When we don’t succeed, we feel bad.

Self-esteem has very little kindness to offer our hurting souls when we fail.

Self-compassion is understanding.

It is an unconditional resource of kindness, clarity, and acknowledgment when you are having a hard time.

The Three Elements of Self-compassion

· Self-compassion encourages self-kindness: Offering yourself patience and sympathy, instead of harsh judgments, is key. Self-kindness accepts the inevitability of inadequacy. It releases you from the need to suffer through self-criticism, reactive anger, and performance stress.

· Self-compassion understands our common humanity: Viewing yourself with a sense of interconnectedness recognizes that we all struggle. Resist the view that you suffer in isolation. Imperfection, failure, and the external factors that make life difficult are shared experiences. You are not alone. We are all vulnerable and in need of non-judgmental understanding.

· Self-compassion mindfully acknowledges things for what they are: Alleviate suffering by connecting with the moments of your life. When you can courageously acknowledge your pain and see things as the really are, no more or less, you’ll find that you are less likely to become caught in past assessments of your worth or future pressure to be something more.

Self-compassion & Motivation

It is a pervasive myth that self-criticism motivates us to be better.

While constructive criticism can be productive, harsh self-criticism usually generates fear of failure and criticism.

Research shows that those who are taught self-compassion rebound faster and persevere longer after a failure.

Self-compassion cares for you like an inner parent, offering support and encouragement.

It soothes, reconnects, and restores.

Self-compassion truly fosters your well-being.

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