Find out how self-compassion can give you an edge at work and with happiness

Find out how self-compassion can give you an edge at work and with happiness

via Fulfilment Daily by Emma Seppala

The Problem: We’re highly competitive, self-critical and hard on ourselves.
The Science: This focus on achievement actually backfires us and makes us vulnerable in times of failure.
The Solution: Self-Compassion is associated with greater resilience, productivity and well-being.

Strive for more, work even harder, aim to be the best! We live in a society that regularly sends us such messages. Meanwhile, most of us don’t stop to consider whether our goals are possible or whether they would even bring us lasting happiness.

Kristin Neff, associate professor of human development at the University of Texas and a pioneer of research on self-compassion, believes that our society’s emphasis on achievement and self-esteem lies at the heart of much unnecessary and even counterproductive suffering. From an early age, we are taught to build our self-esteem by competing successfully, yet competition is a losing battle. Psychologists have discovered that most people believe they are above average and better than others on almost every trait (the better-than-average effect). This belief helps us ward off painful feelings of inadequacy, but it comes at a price. When our self-esteem rests on the premise of successfully competing against others, we are always precariously teetering on the edge of losing. Social comparison and competition also foster disconnection by causing us to view others as obstacles to overcome in order to keep our position, mark our territory, and vanquish potential rivals. We ultimately feel more separate from others when the primary goal of our desire for success is to belong and to be loved.

It is just not possible to be better than everyone at all times. Yet research shows that when we fail we tend to feel highly self-critical, adding to our misery. Faced with criticism, we become defensive and may feel crushed. Mistakes and failure make us so insecure and anxious that we give up early when faced with future challenge. Down the road this type of competitive self-esteem has been tied to larger societal problems such as loneliness, isolation, and even prejudice.

After observing the pitfalls of self-esteem, Neff went looking for an alternative, a way to set and achieve our goals without beating up ourselves — or anyone else — in the process. Through the practice of Buddhism, she found it in the form of self-compassion. With self-compassion, you value yourself not because you’ve judged yourself positively and others negatively but because you’re intrinsically deserving of care and concern like everyone else. Where self-esteem leaves us powerless and distraught, self-compassion is at the heart of empowerment, learning, and inner strength.

Treating Yourself Like A Friend

However, Neff ’s research suggests that replacing self-esteem with self-compassion may have far superior implications for our mental health and well-being than self-criticism. In one study, for example, Neff found that when faced with a threatening situation (having to describe one’s weaknesses in a job interview), self-compassion was associated with lower anxiety, whereas self-esteem did not impact anxiety levels…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE