The research is in! Those who score higher in self-compassion have less anxiety and depression and bounce back easier from setbacks. The self-esteem movement of the 90’s has shown some cracks. Namely, we have taught people that in order to feel good about themselves, they need to be better than someone else. This has resulted in a culture of narcissism and fragile egos.
Self-compassion isn’t just for the faint of heart, it requires courage and strength to turn toward your suffering and yet remain committed to doing what’s best for you. Practicing self-compassion has three critical components identified by Dr. Kristin Neff. The first is mindfulness to your suffering, the second is kindness around the suffering versus judging yourself harshly, and the third element involves remembering that imperfection, failure, and suffering are part of the human experience, you are not alone.
All the elements are critical, but a final thought on the importance of the last piece. When we misstep or fail, there is a tendency to feel alone, different, or less than in some way. Remembering the ubiquity of the human experience of suffering is a lovely antidote to feeling alone.