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The Power of Self-Compassion

We don’t always make the best decisions in life, nor live up to the high standards that we (or others) may have expected of us.

It’s easy to beat ourselves up when we fail but we wouldn’t do this to others when they are down. We wouldn’t normally “put the boot in “ would we?

We would reach out with compassion, care and understanding and offer our help and maybe a hug.

Dr Kristin Neff who has been studying self-concept development at the University of California at Berkeley, has found that if we practice self-compassion rather than judging and criticizing ourselves for our short-comings, we can improve our physical and mental health.

Kristin recommends that we learn to acknowledge and accept our humanness and to practice this in a three -way approach.:

  • Acknowledge our feelings- write them down if it helps
  • Recognise that we are not alone, that others would feel sad in similar circumstances.
  • Be mindful of what you need to do to feel better. You will get through this. This feeling will pass.

Research has found that self-compassion is associated with greater emotional resilience, the development of more accurate self-concepts, more caring relationships and behaviour as well as less narcissism and reactive anger.

Self-compassion is not about self-pity, or self-esteem or self-indulgence.

You don’t have to be better than others in order to feel really good about yourself.

Along with colleague Dr Chris Germer, Kristin has written the Mindful Self-Compassion workbook and has developed a training program to help others.

Find out more about Dr Kristin Neff

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