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One component of mental well-being is self-compassion. According to researcher Kristin Neff, “ Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others. Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop to tell yourself “this is really difficult right now,” how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?”
Rather than allowing the self-critic to judge yourself for shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding. Dr. Emma Seppala notes, “ Most of us don’t stop to consider whether our self-critical and competitive attitude are helping us achieve our goals. We don’t realize that they are actually standing in our way. Scientific data shows that self-criticism makes us weaker in the face of failure, more emotional, and less likely to assimilate lessons from our failures. Studies are finding that there is a far better alternative to self-criticism: self-compassion.”
Rather than being critical, one can expand our perspective and realize mistakes and failures are a part of life and other factors that contribute to these experiences and emotions.
Below is an infograph summarizing Dr. Seppala’s findings on self-compassion:
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