With Self Compassion




”Be gentle first with yourself if you wish to be gentle with others.”

Lama Yeshe

Self-compassion involves being kind to ourselves when life goes wrong or we notice something about ourselves we don’t like, rather than being harshly self-critical. It recognises that the human condition is imperfect, so that we feel connected to others when we fail or suffer rather than feeling separate or isolated. It also involves mindfulness – the recognition and non-judgmental acceptance of painful emotions as they arise in the present moment. Rather than suppressing our pain or else making it into an exaggerated personal soap opera, we see ourselves and our situation clearly.

Self-compassion does not demand that we evaluate ourselves positively or that we see ourselves as better than others. Rather, the positive emotions of self-compassion kick in exactly when self-esteem falls down; when we do not meet our expectations or fail in some way.

It is constantly there to provide us with care and support in times of need. Kristin Neff, Ph.D has shown that self-compassion offers the same benefits as high self-esteem, such as less anxiety and depression and greater happiness.

Instead of endlessly chasing self-esteem as if it were the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,  we can choose to the develop a sense  of self-compassion. That way, whether we are on top of the world or at the bottom of the heap, we can embrace ourselves with a sense a kindness, connectedness and emotional balance. We can learn to feel good about ourselves not because we are special and above average, but because we are human beings basically worthy of respect.

‘Self-compassion creates a caring space within you that is free of judgment—a place that sees your hurt and your failures and softens to allow those experiences with kindness and caring.’

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