Mindful Monday: Self-Compassion

March 2, 2015
couple, beach, surf

self compassion quote

Many of us (including me) live with self-distortions of who we really are. We need to stop beating ourselves up with self-critical thoughts. We show compassion towards other people but rarely show compassion to ourselves.

I was interested to explore self-compassion combined with mindfulness and how this combination might better help us achieve our full potential.

Self-compassion is a more effective motivator than self-criticism because its driving force is love, not fear. Love allows us to feel confident and secure (in part by pumping up our oxytocin), while fear makes us feel insecure and jittery (sending your amygdala {a structure within our brains that is involved in many of our emotions and motivations, particularly those that are related to survival} into over drive and flooding our systems with cortisol).

What is Self Compassion?

Self-compassion is extending compassion to one’s self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering.

Self-compassion offers the same benefits as self-esteem but with fewer of its drawbacks such as narcissism, ego-defensive anger, inaccurate self-perceptions, self-worth contingency, or social comparison.

I am thrilled to have discovered Dr Kristin Neff, Associate Professor in Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas at Austin – USA and author of ‘Self Compassion’. Her book is now on my wish list!

Read Dr Neff’s definition of Self Compassion and her definition of What Self-Compassion is not!  She has defined self-compassion as being composed of three main components – self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.

Here she explains what self-compassion is:

Self-Kindness

Self-compassion entails being warm towards oneself when encountering pain and personal shortcomings, rather than ignoring them or hurting oneself with self-criticism.  See Dr Kristin Neff speak more on this HERE.

Common Humanity

Self-compassion also involves recognizing that suffering and personal failure is part of the shared human experience.  See Dr Kristin Neff speak more on this HERE.

Mindfulness

Self-compassion requires taking a balanced approach to one’s negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated. Negative thoughts and emotions are observed with openness, so that they are held in mindful awareness. Mindfulness is a non-judgmental, receptive mind state in which individuals observe their thoughts and feelings as they are, without trying to suppress or deny them. Conversely, mindfulness requires that one not be “over-identified” with mental or emotional phenomena, so that one suffers aversive reactions. This latter type of response involves narrowly focusing and ruminating on one’s negative emotions.

Dr Kristin Neff has partnered with Christopher Germer PhD (Clinical Psychologist) and together they have developed The Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) program. I have found some fabulous self-compassion meditations provided by Christopher Germer, PhD available for play and/or download HERE.  I highly recommend them!  I have tried some of them myself and loved them.  I will be back to try them all.  I am sure that many of the meditations provided here will become my firm favourites!

Be kind to yourselves! 😉

Ciao for now,

Min Signature - Dec13

[ This post is linked up with One Mother Hen‘s #openslather ]

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18 Comments

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee March 2, 2015 at 7:27 am

    I like this post – usually there is no harsher critic than ourselves. And we a quick to believe our own negative thoughts….

    • Reply Min March 2, 2015 at 10:57 am

      So glad you like the post Lydia! Yes – we are usually our own worst critics. So sad – we all need to be much kinder to ourselves! xo

  • Reply Julie March 2, 2015 at 10:02 am

    Thank you for a lovely post. I really enjoyed reading this today and what a nice way to start the day with such a positive message.

    • Reply Min March 2, 2015 at 10:59 am

      So glad you’ve enjoyed it Julie! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Jody at Six Little Hearts March 2, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Lovely post with so much to offer. Thank you so much for this. x

    • Reply Min March 2, 2015 at 10:59 am

      My pleasure – so happy you enjoyed it! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Caroline@Mamma Raj Says March 2, 2015 at 11:23 am

    I think as a mum you often put yourself last. It just happens and it is totally natural. But this it a great reminder that not only do we need to look after others but also ourselves. We are always our worst critics – where we should be the best ambassador for ourselves

    • Reply Min March 2, 2015 at 5:54 pm

      I put myself last for many years Caroline and paid the price. Don’t make the same mistake. It’s only in recent years that I am turning my attention to myself. Self compassion is something I need to work on as I am very self-critical. It’s so important to show compassion to ourselves though!

  • Reply PatrickC March 2, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Hi Min, as soon as I saw Kristin’s face I recognised her. She is the incredible partner of Rupert Isaacson. They are the parents of Rowan. Rowan is “The Horse Boy” Rupert and Kristin travelled with their son to Mongolia to interact with the Shaman there to see if they could have any impact on Rowans profound autism. The story has been filmed as a documentary with that title and Rupert wrote at least one book about his family and their journey. I will photograph the cover and tweet it to you. I cannot recommend the book and film highly enough. An amazing family.

    • Reply Min March 2, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      Hi Patrick, wow that sounds really interesting! I haven’t heard of Rupert Isaacson but I do think I read somewhere something briefly mentioning her having a son with autism. I’m really interested to read the book and see the documentary now! I’ll pop over to Twitter to see your tweet. Thanks for this info! 🙂

  • Reply Alicia March 2, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    I am forever asking for the world to give me a break, but I think most importantly, I should be giving myself a break! It’s always after the fact, I realise things aren’t as bad as my mind made them out to be. I am really better at dealing with things, than I give myself credit for and really should be my own cheerleader 🙂

    • Reply Min March 3, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      You should definitely give yourself a break Alicia! We all deserve some self-compassion and we are with ourselves 24/7 so can dish it out to ourselves at any time! 🙂

  • Reply Zita March 3, 2015 at 1:24 am

    Yep, definitely needed this post after my post today! I know I need to work hard on this… Will have to come back and watch the videos at another time though as I currently have a roommate whom I only met yesterday so don’t want to freak her out with some ‘self-help’ type videos just yet (hehe)

    • Reply Min March 3, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      I need to work more on self-compassion too Zita. LOL – completely understand about the roommate! 🙂 x

  • Reply Anne@GritandGiggles March 3, 2015 at 8:30 am

    We are our worst critics and are often harder on ourselves than anyone else can be. I like this, self compassion it something I might need to practice a little more.

    • Reply Min March 3, 2015 at 9:06 pm

      So true Anne and I put my hand up and declare that I am a terrible self critic – always beating myself up and putting myself down. BUT I’m committed to stopping it! Self compassion is high on my priority list this year. I’ve been through some stuff. I deserve a little kindness and compassion from myself. So do lots more people! 😉 x

  • Reply Sonia Life Love Hiccups March 3, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    Oh man I am my own worst critic. i needed to see this today – thanks hun xx

    • Reply Min March 3, 2015 at 9:12 pm

      Me too Sonia! So pleased it was of help 🙂 xo

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