How Good are You at Letting Go of Self Criticism and Discovering Self Compassion?

By Val Boyko • September 17th, 2011

self compassionI’m really enjoying reading Dr Kristin Neff’s research and insights into Self Compassion. Here at Mother Whisperers we’ve talked about accepting and loving ourselves so we are able to accept and love others, especially our mothers or daughters. Kristen looks at self compassion more deeply and writes in a recent article in Psychology Today:

“When our inner voice continually criticizes and berates us we end up feeling worthless, incompetent and insecure, and we often end up in negative cycles of self sabotage and self harm. However, when our inner voice plays the role of a supportive friend we can – when we notice some personal failing – feel safe and accepted enough to both see ourselves clearly and make the changes needed for us to be healthier and happier.”

She continues:

“But what is self-compassion exactly? Drawing on the writings of various Buddhist scholars, I have defined self-compassion as having 3 main components:

(a) self-kindness

(b) a sense of common humanity

(c) mindfulness

Self-kindness refers to the tendency to be caring and understanding with oneself rather than being harshly critical or judgmental. Instead of taking a cold ‘stiff-upper-lip’ approach in times of suffering, self-kindness offers soothing and comfort to the self. Common humanity involves recognizing that all humans are imperfect, fail and make mistakes. It connects one’s own flawed condition to the shared human condition so that one can take greater perspective towards one’s personal shortcomings and difficulties. Mindfulness involves being aware of one’s painful feelings in a clear and balanced manner so that one neither ignores nor obsesses about disliked aspects of oneself or one’s life. The three together combine to create a self-compassionate frame of mind: a compassion that can be extended toward the self when suffering occurs through no fault of one’s own – when the external circumstances of life are simply too painful or difficult to bear – or else when our suffering stems from one’s own mistakes, failures or personal inadequacies.Kristin Neff

Much of the research conducted on self-compassion has used the Self-Compassion Scale I created.

If you want to test your own self-compassion level and find out if you need to start being kinder to yourself click here!

 

Val’s comment: This is a really insightful test to take. The results may surprise you! Find a link To Kristen’s blog on our blogroll.

 

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