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Talk to yourself as you would someone you love. — Brene Brown

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Too Hard On Yourself? Why A Little Self-Compassion Can Take You A Long Way an article by Margie Warell

Going easier on yourself is not just the loving thing to do, it's the smart thing to do. Research has found that people who practice self-compassion are not less motivated to work hard and get ahead, they are more so You’re such an idiot. Everyone’s got it figured out…but you.

You’re a lousy presenter/parent/partner/person/(fill in the blank) If you’ve ever heard a little voice inside your head pointing out your every mistake, critiquing your every move, berating you each time you didn’t nail it or fell short of your ideal

(unlike ‘everyone else’ who seem to glide along effortlessly), then you’ll know how constant, critical and discouraging that voice can be.

Let’s face it, if there’s one thing many of us are good at, it is beating up on ourselves. Despite how kind we can be to those around us in difficult moments, many people can be outright cruel to themselves. Our innate negativity bias drives us to attend far more to our failures and dwell on our deficiencies. And when we do nail the presentation, win the prize and get it right, we quickly downplay or pass over those successes with only a fleeting celebratory moment before our attention is pulled back to what we have yet to do or could still do that bit better. It’s a vicious, self-diminishing-cycle.

Enter self-compassion.

Of course, compassion, which is defined by our sensitivity to the experience of suffering and our desire to alleviate it, is a virtue we all admire.

Yet research shows that many people – particularly women – find it far easier to extend compassion toward others than toward themselves.

Dr. Kristin Neff, a professor at the University of Texas, Austin and the author of Self Compassion, has spent over a decade studying self-compassion.

In our interview, she shared her theoretical framework for self-compassion which consists of three core components - self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness of suffering.

Self-kindness vs. self-judgement.

That is, treating yourself with the patience, empathy, warmth, and understanding you’d extend to a friend rather than sitting in harsh, ‘you idiot’ self-judgment.

Common humanity vs. Isolation.

That is, viewing your fallibility as part of the larger human condition.

This requires us to recognize our connection to others and embrace our fallibility and struggles as an intrinsic part of simply being human rather than as proof of our inadequacy, which just leaves us feeling isolated and disconnected.

Mindfulness vs. Over-identification (holding one's painful thoughts and feelings with ‘warm regard’).

Practicing mindfulness entails observing what you are thinking and feeling with a warm heart, rather than trying to avoid difficult feeling or to over-identify with them and make things bigger and more dramatic than they actually are.

Self-compassion can sound like a ‘feel good’ fluffy way of dealing with disappointments, failures, and mistakes,

but a growing body of research has found going easier on yourself is not just the loving thing to do, it's the smart thing to do.

Multiple studies have found that self-compassion can:

• Deepen interpersonal relationships (self-compassionate people are easier to live and work with)

• Improve positive body image (warding off the potential for eating disorders)

• Counter rumination (something women are particularly prone toward)

• Enhance motivation, improve learning (fostering a ‘Growth Mindset’) and strengthen performance

• Foster resilience to bounce back faster from loss and setbacks

• Counter ‘maladaptive perfectionism,’ procrastination, and narcissism.

Often the executives, many of whom can be pretty tough on themselves, respond cynically so the suggestion is to be a little kinder to themselves.

Their comments run along the lines of:

Surely going easy on myself is self-indulgent?

It's setting the bar high and expecting a lot from myself that drives me to work hard and get ahead.

Heck, I'd probably turn into a lazy slacker if I stopped being so hard on myself. The data shows otherwise. In fact, studies have found that people who practice self-compassion are not less motivated to work hard and get ahead, they are more so. Since they don’t measure their self-worth based on the results they achieve, they are more likely to try things and risk failure. They know that if they don’t get the outcome they want, it won’t be the end of the world. Nor will it mean they’ll feel like a loser. Rather, they’ll take the learning and move on, that bit wiser. Interestingly, research into self-compassion has debunked the once widely-held belief that high self-esteem is the strongest predictor of success. Self-compassion is now regarded as more valuable for wellbeing and performance than self-esteem,

from helping students succeed in the classroom to enabling adults to bounce back from setbacks and thrive in life.One study of students found that those with higher levels of self-compassion were able to handle disappointment more positively and stay more motivated to keep trying after their failures. Accordingly, they were less prone to the performance anxiety that plagues so many young people (and plenty of the not-so-young.) Because self-compassion circumvents the often-debilitating self-evaluation process, it liberates people to give themselves permission to risk failure more often. This in turn helps them learn more, grow more, and succeed more.

If you’re wondering how you can be more compassionate with yourself

Start by simply paying attention to how often you aren’t. If your inner critic has permanently set up shop in your head, chances are your self-recriminations have become transparent to you.The truth is that we are all ‘human becomings’ – fallible, flawed, and wired to dwell more on our shortcomings and failings than we are to celebrate our strengths and successes. It is by embracing our humanity – for all that we are and for all that we aren’t – that we can savor more moments of gratitude, joy, and connection over the course of an ordinary day.

We can also spare ourselves the needless suffering that comes from feeling isolated, inadequate, and unworthy.


As author Jack Kornfield wrote, “If your compassion doesn’t include yourself, it is incomplete.”

Try these tips to be kinder to yourself (and set an example for others to do the same):

1. Embrace your power. Embrace your own power and you'll be better able to empower others.

2. Learn to calm your mind. A calm mind is the best weapon against even the biggest challenges.

3. Have a courageous conversation. Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.

4. Create media blackout days. Shut out all the screens and other things that distract or disturb you.

5. Be true to your word. Speak with integrity; say only what you mean and never speak ill of yourself or others. Use the power of your words in service to truth and kindness.

6. Do the right thing, even if no one is watching. Doing the right thing may hurt, but doing the wrong thing causes lasting harm.

7. Spend time with people who do good things. Never stop doing things for others, and spend your precious time with others who share that spirit.

8. Embrace the unknown. Fear of the unknown can be truly paralyzing, but having the courage and conviction to take a chance can turn fear to your advantage.

9. Be compassionate toward yourself. Be as understanding with yourself as you would be with your best friend. If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.

10. Celebrate your growth. Sometimes we forget to celebrate how far we've come. Mental, emotional, and spiritual growth don't happen automatically. They take work and perseverance, and they're worth rewarding.

11. Don't ever settle. Never accept less than you deserve, because once you start to settle, you always will.

12. Stop worrying about what other people think. The greatest prison people live in is the fear of what other people think.

13. Don't live your life online. Make sure you're spending time with people face-to-face and living fully in real life.

14. Treat others with respect. Treating others with respect and generosity is associated with high self-esteem.

15. Realize you are worthy and deserving. There's a big difference between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing you are worthy of happiness.

16. Be kind to others. Set an example. Treat everyone with the same consideration you want for yourself.

17. Express yourself courageously. Speak your truth and live to express, not to impress.

18. Be your own superhero. Remember, superheroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary.

19. Shut down negative self-talk. The things you tell yourself every day are either going to lift you up or tear you down. It's your choice.

20. Hold yourself to a high standard. Never let anyone tell you your standards are too high. There's nothing wrong with wanting the best for yourself.

21. Don't take yourself too seriously. Take your work and your responsibilities seriously, but yourself not so much.

22. Do something you're afraid to do. Learn to overcome fear with will.

23. Take time off. Everyone deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solution searched for. There's no harm in withdrawing from your cares for a while.

24. Learn to forgive. In any conflict, the first to apologize is the bravest, the first to forgive is the strongest, and the first to forget is the happiest.

25. Set big goals. Set daily, monthly, and long-term goals built on your dreams. Never be afraid you're thinking too big--nothing is impossible. If you believe in yourself, you can achieve it.

26. Respect yourself fully. Always treat yourself with the same respect you show others. Remember, the world sees what you put out there--so hold yourself to a high standard.

27. Give to others. Giving is the master key to happiness in life. It's in giving that we receive the most.

28. Truly listen to people when they are speaking. Stop every other action and thought and focus on what's being said.

29. Go to bed early. You'll be happier, healthier, and more productive.

30. Help others. Don't look for a reason to help people; just do it.

31. Change your thoughts to change your life. If you truly want to be better to yourself, start by listening to your thoughts. Your mind is a powerful thing, and when you fill it with positive thoughts amazing things can happen.

32. Stop trying to fit in. When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. Concentrate instead on being yourself and standing out.

33. Think of a way to make your life easier, then do it. If something doesn't add to your life, it doesn't belong in your life.

34. Stop judging yourself. One of the most important ways we can be kinder to ourselves is to stop judging ourselves. Don't sum up your whole life in one moment.

35. Make the most of every opportunity. When opportunity knocks, don't let fear hold you back. Open the door and embrace the opportunity, because it may be the most important one you'll receive.

36. Learn to let things go. Sometimes the best way to be happy is to learn to let go of things you tried hard to hold on to.

37. Ask for help. Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.

38. Stay focused. Keep yourself on task and you'll discover more free time.

39. Be fully present. To be present in the moment is one of the greatest acts of kindness you can give yourself.

40. Take time for yourself. There is a virtue in work and there is virtue in taking time off. Enjoy both in balance.

41. Nourish yourself. What if you devoted the coming year to simply caring for yourself? Don't make excuses, adjustments, or improvements--just do whatever it takes to nurture yourself.

42. Bring music into your life. Music gives wings to the mind and flight to the imagination.

43. Get out and have fun. There's no valid reason not to enjoy your life every day.

44. Appreciate people in your life. Appreciation can make someone's day or even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words, even awkwardly, is all that is necessary.

45. Learn to dance freely. Even if it's only when nobody's watching, learn to let yourself be loose and enjoy each step.

46. Don't rest on your laurels. Keep yourself motivated and moving forward.

47. Try to bring meaning to every day. It's important to remember that we all have meaning within us.

48. Learn to apologize. Apologizing doesn't always mean that you're wrong and the other person is right--sometimes it just means that you value your relationship more than your ego.

49. Boldly challenge yourself. If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you.

50. Treat yourself to a personal health day. Take time off and get a massage, eat great food, do nothing, take a walk, work out, whatever you do--treat yourself to whatever makes you happy.

51. Be your own best friend. It's far better than being your own worst enemy.

52. Reinvent yourself. Life isn't about finding yourself; life will always be about creating yourself.

With that, we hope you have a fantastic week ahead! as always..

BE Kind, DO Fearless

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