PERSONALITY & Why Self-Compassion Beats Self-Esteem

by Carley Sime, Forbes Magazine, 4/30/19.

Firstly a definition of self-compassion. This is taken directly from a paper written by Kristin Neff, a hugely influential researcher in the field of self-compassion: 

“Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding towards oneself when encountering suffering, inadequacy or failure, rather than ignoring one’s pain or flagellating oneself with self-criticism. Self-compassionate people recognize that being imperfect, failing, and experiencing life difficulties is inevitable, so they tend to be gentle with themselves when confronted with painful experiences rather than getting angry when life falls short of set ideals. People cannot always be or get exactly what they want. When this reality is denied or fought against suffering increases in the form of stress, frustration and self-criticism. When this reality is accepted with sympathy and kindness, greater emotional equanimity is experienced”

Through her research, Neff has found that individuals who are self-compassionate often benefit in several ways. They tend to have better psychological health and also greater resilience when compared to those with lower levels of self-compassion. Neff also found that self-compassion is positively associated with life-satisfaction, emotional intelligence and social connectedness. What is it negatively associated with? Depression, anxiety, rumination, thought suppression and perfectionism. This means that individuals who are self-compassionate are less likely to experience these things. 

If that hasn’t sold you on self-compassion then keep reading. Neff and colleagues also found that self-compassion was associated with greater wisdom, curiosity, exploration, happiness, optimism and positive affect. They also found a link between self-compassion and personal initiative, defined as a desire to grow and change in ways that lead to living a more productive and fulfilling life. They suggest that this finding is particularly important as it demonstrates how self-compassion leads to personal growth rather than self-indulgence

Read more at …https://www.forbes.com/sites/carleysime/2019/04/30/why-self-compassion-beats-self-esteem/