Self-compassion makes you a better person. Here’s how to practice it.

Self-compassion makes you a better person. Here’s how to practice it.

Over the many years I’ve studied and practiced psychology, there have been many evidence-based strategies I’ve tried and taught.

I’m always reluctant to say one is “the best” or the “most important” and I won’t do that here.

But there is one that FOR ME has increasingly become central to my self-care and to my mental-health and that’s self-compassion.

It’s such a simple idea in theory, but not always easy to put into practice. This article, however, should help those of you who’re interested …

via Vice by Sigal Samuel

“Oh, no!” I thought when I took an online test to measure my level of self-compassion and saw my score. “I’m below average!”

Immediately I felt the urge to berate myself for the inadequacy — proving, of course, the test’s point.

The test’s creator, psychologist Kristin Neff, pioneered the scientific study of self-compassion two decades ago. The field has exploded since then, with new research on the topic coming out all the time. It’s not just a hot topic among researchers; it’s also popular with the public.

This year marks 10 years since Neff, together with her colleague Chris Germer, created a course to teach people self-compassion. Well over 100,000 people have gone through the eight-week course, and clinical trials have found very positive effects on mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, as well as on physical health. Notably, those effects persist even a year after the course.

Neff began by developing a model of what self-compassion is. She identified three components: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.​​

Self-kindness means you’re warm toward yourself when you suffer or mess up, rather than judging yourself harshly (as I did above). Common humanity means you remind yourself that everyone suffers or messes up sometimes, rather than succumbing to the feeling that you’re the only one going through such hard things. Mindfulness, here, means you’re neither under- nor overidentified with your painful thoughts — you acknowledge them as painful, but you also recognize that they’re just thoughts, not your whole being.

If you’re anything like me, you’re already feeling skeptical about all this. Maybe you’re thinking that you need self-criticism to motivate yourself to improve. Maybe you’re worried that self-compassion would breed self-indulgence, leading you to let yourself off the hook too easily.

Well, it turns out the research dispels these misconceptions. Let’s dig into why self-compassion is not only an effective intervention for alleviating mental distress — something we desperately need — but also an effective way to become a better person, and how it’s something you yourself can achieve.

Common objections to self-compassion — and how the research dispels them

The most common objection — one I had myself — is the concern that self-compassion might rob us of the motivation to improve. If I don’t self-criticize when I make mistakes, will I still feel driven to learn from them?

… keep reading the full & original article HERE