We are so hard on ourselves – we are raised to be kind, polite and respectful to others – but not to ourselves. Somehow, it is okay to treat ourselves disrespectful and talk to ourselves in the cruelest of  ways!

We have about 25.000 – 65.000 thoughts a day – 90 % are critical and a big part of those are turned towards ourselves!  I  am too fat! Gosh, I look dreadful! I suck at math! I totally tone-deaf so I don’t sing along! I will never be able to do that! I am a terrible cook,!I don’t deserve that job/position/credit! I will never make that kind of  money! She is much more beautiful than me! He is much better than me! He (she) doesn’t love me! I am unlovable……………etc. etc. Would we talk to others like that? No-way! But nevertheless we bombard ourselves with it every day. Then we smile and pretend everything is okay and wonder why we feel so miserable!

These kind of thoughts are stressful on our body. They effect our health. They create imbalance in the body and they make us feel miserable and depressed!

If these negative thoughts were even a bit positive or helpful, if they could motivate us and get us on the right track – then we could use them – but unfortunately – they are not!

Dr. Kristin Neff Ph.D, associate professor, Human Development and Culture, Educational Psychology Department, University of Texas at Austin is the author of the book Self-Compassion. Kristin Neff is also featured in the best-selling book and award winning documentary “The Horse Boy” – that tells the story of her family’s personal journey with autism.

I love her approach – not the usual “think positive”  approach, but rather, having compassion for who we are with everything, the good, the bad and the ugly, shortcomings and all – accepting that we are humans, that we are not perfect and that we do make mistakes. She talks about self-compassion being healthier than self esteem in this great article in Psychology today.

She uses her own story, she has humor and insight – and she is hugely inspiring!

This is a great interview with Kristin Neff in the program The High Bar with Warren Etheredge

The High Bar

Kristin Neff’s book Self-Compassion is a wonderful book that I highly recommend. Her website is full of useful information, videos, self-compassion meditations, interviews exercises and more. Kristin Neff is also the writer in Psychology Today’s blog  with articles such as “Why self compassion is healthier than self esteem” and “Self-compassion for caregivers” and “let go of self-criticism and discover self-compassion” ! She also writes for  Huffington Post’s blog with articles like “Does self-compassion mean letting yourself off the hook”? and “Treating yourself as you’d treat a good friend”

The Horse Boy Movie

You may also want to read my post about compassion

22 thoughts on “Self-Compassion

  1. What an exceptional and loving post. I will check out the books on your website. I love the cover of The Horse Boy….melts my heart! I have known families with Autistic children and have learned that my new home, Louisville KY rates very high for Autism education, support and services.

  2. I’m really glad you posted this. I’ve been working hard to be more compassionate to myself. One thing in particular I used to do is say something self depreciating after someone would give me a compliment, as if I wasn’t worthy of the things they said. I’ve learned to say a grateful thank you instead.

    I think so many times we try to appear like we are humble or easy going by negating our selves, but it’s really just self destructive behavior.

  3. An old friend, a comedian, once told me he didn’t need self-esteem, he just need other people’s esteem… then he would have his own. I am so grateful to have spoken with Kristin Neff and read her book so that I can adopt a better approach to life: self-compassion. That will reduce my dependency on the kindness of strangers. ; ) And, thank you, Anne, for sharing one of my favorite episodes of The High Bar (

      • I hope to lure Dr. Neff back to The High Bar at some point to have a conversation about her and her husband’s work with autism. TIll then, please enjoy other guests such as developmental molecular biologist and author of the best-seller Brain Rules, John Medina.

  4. It’s a mental torture 😦 thanks Anne for coming up with an interesting topic that helps create awareness on issues that affects people big time. Giving helpful tips, remedy and motivation to react in a positive approach. What your doing is a good way to share the overflowing of your blessings, joy and happiness to others.
    More power on touching people’s lives 😉

  5. Great topic, Anne! And one that regardless of how often one reminds others of how destructive it is, can quite easily creep its way into one’s own way of thinking. Great post, love to see ones like this 🙂

    • So true! I love the Chinese saying, when you point your finger at others – there are 3 fingers pointing back at you 🙂
      More self compassion and the world would be an even better place!
      Thanks for reading 🙂

  6. Pingback: Stop procrastination and succeed with your new years resolutions « Anne Sture Tucker

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