Self-Compassion

The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
by Kristin Neff, Ph.D. | 320 pages

Kristin Neff established self-compassion as a field of study almost a decade ago—bringing the Buddhist practice of self-compassion into her labs so the benefits could be empirically validated. In this Note, we explore the three core elements of self-compassion (self-kindness + common humanity + mindfulness) and why it's so important for us to cultivate!


“The research that my colleagues and I have conducted over the past decade shows that self-compassion is a powerful way to achieve emotional well-being and contentment in our lives. By giving ourselves unconditional kindness and comfort while embracing the human experience, difficult as it is, we avoid destructive patterns of fear, negativity, and isolation. At the same time, self-compassion fosters positive mind-states such as happiness and optimism. The nurturing quality of self-compassion allows us to flourish, to appreciate the beauty and richness of life, even in hard times. When we soothe our agitated minds with self-compassion, we’re better able to notice what’s right as well as what’s wrong, so that we can orient ourselves toward that which gives us joy. . . .

You can’t always have high self-esteem and your life will continue to be flawed and imperfect—but self-compassion will always be there, waiting for you, a safe haven. In good times and bad, whether you’re on top of the world or at the bottom of the heap, self-compassion will keep you going, helping you move to a better place. It does take work to break the self-criticizing habits of a lifetime, but at the end of the day, you are only being asked to relax, allow life to be as it is, and open your heart to yourself. It’s easier than you might think, and it could change your life.”

~ Kristin Neff from Self-Compassion

I first heard about Kristin Neff and her work from Brené Brown—who is a huge (!) fan. (See Notes on Brené’s great books Daring Greatly + The Gifts of Imperfection.)

And I can see why Brené is such a big fan. Kristin is awesome.

Kristin is one of the world’s leading researchers on self-compassion. In fact, she is the one who first established self-compassion as a field of study almost a decade ago—bringing the Buddhist practice of self-compassion into her labs so the benefits could be empirically validated. Very cool stuff.

The book walks us through the scientific research underpinning the why’s and how’s of cultivating our self-compassion and is packed with theoretical and practical goodness.

Let’s start by defining self-compassion then looking at the three keys to self-compassion (self-kindness + common humanity + mindfulness) in more detail plus some of my favorite Big Ideas to help us bring this to life!

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About the author

Authors

Kristin Neff, Ph.D.

Leading expert on self-compassion