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5 Strategies for Self-Compassion

Many of us are all too used to bashing ourselves. And it’s not surprising. In our society, we’re taught that being hard on ourselves and ashamed of everything from our actions to our looks gets results.

Self-criticism is the preferred path to success. We rarely think about showing ourselves kindness. Or even if we do, we worry that doing so is selfish, complacent or arrogant.

But research has found that self-criticism only sabotages us and produces a variety of negative consequences. For instance, according to Kristin Neff, Ph.D., associate professor in human development at the University of Texas at Austin, studies have shown that self-criticism can lead to lowered self-esteem, anxiety and depression.

2 Comments to
5 Strategies for Self-Compassion

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  1. Another nicely done article that introduces some really helpful techniques. I do think that cognitively, anyone can grasp the ideas – but agree with Neff that a therapist can help with letting go of the self-criticism ( often really self- abuse) and becoming a concerned/kind “parent” figure. With a therapist helping, you get to practice in a safe place, and get positive, supportive feedback on your attempts to change ( otherwise you can end in the particularly frustrating paradox of criticizing yourself for not being able to let go of criticizing yourself.) Since the self-criticism is learned, but often has become a defense – if you are criticize yourself what can anyone else say? – It really is key to have a neutral person to coach and guide you.
    I will be forever thankful to one therapist who worked with me on techniques to change this self-sabotage. It was one of the most useful things I learned in therapy. Repeating myself a bit – it isn’t that i didn’t KNOW already that this ( calling myself names, for instance) was not helping — I did; but I needed to be in a place where someone would encourage me – even insist that I – practice new techniques(In brief which included relaxation, guided imagery). It goes along with the need to transcend thinking and engage the body and probably right brain in short-circuiting the near automatic inner Rex Reed.

  2. It helps a lot,, specially to the person like me who is nothing to be trusted about my problm

  3. Like the article… Basically a repeat of Kristin Neffs ideas and a worthwhile read! However, in here which I haven’t seen in Kristins work is you statewhile acknowledging that others have similar problems or are suffering even more. And you go on to say we must put it into perspective. This is something I have been told all my life and though I try to be kind to myself, the feeling comes up that I am not worthy of feeling kind to me because there is someone always suffering more than me and I don’t deserve to have this suffering for perhaps a less terrible problem. It shouts get over it, and I then feel guilty about having the feelings and I spiral into mind chaos. Your words have actually wounded me. Sad and I thought kindness would not lead me to feeling this way. If Kristen meant this then perhaps I will never feel self compassion because as you say there is always someone worse off than me and I don’t deserve to feel this way. Put into perspective and get over it. Sad!



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