Thursday, July 12, 2012

The concept of self-compassion

Recently I've been thinking a lot about the concept of compassion - to myself.  If there is one main "hurdle" in my gene pool that's prevented me from achieving my goals or living peacefully, it's my tendency to be really hard on myself.  My internal monologue often takes a turn for the worse with a mean spirited, unfair, and unkind quality.  Instead of acknowledging how far I've come or reminding myself that it's okay to not do everything right, I put myself down.  Let me tell you - sometimes it gets plain old MEAN.  Instead of letting go and accepting myself, I take steps back and end up feeling more disappointed than I was to begin with.

Tonight I came across a book on amazon about the concept of "Self-Compassion."  The book description really intrigued me:

The relentless pursuit of high self-esteem has become a virtual religion—and a tyrannical one at that. Our ultracompetitive culture tells us we need to be constantly above average to feel good about ourselves, but there is always someone more attractive, successful, or intelligent than we are. And even when we do manage to grab hold of high self-esteem for a brief moment, we can't seem to keep it. Our sense of self-worth goes up and down like a ping-pong ball, rising and falling in lockstep with our latest success or failure. 

Fortunately, there is an alternative to self-esteem that many experts believe is a better and more effective path to happiness: self-compassion. The research of Dr. Kristin Neff and other leading psychologists indicates that people who are compassionate toward their failings and imperfections experience greater well-being than those who repeatedly judge themselves. The feelings of security and self-worth provided by self-compassion are also highly stable, kicking in precisely when self-esteem falls down. This book powerfully demonstrates why it's so important to be self-compassionate and give yourself the same caring support you'd give to a good friend. (Source)

I think it is so important to be mindful that we do live in a culture that is consumed with the quest for high self-esteem.  It's exhausting and absolutely ridiculous, when you think about it!

I am going to give Self-Compassion a try - both the book and the practice in my daily life...and make a commitment to not beat myself up if it takes some time to learn these skills :).

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree with you more! I just added this book to my Amazon Wish-List :) Thanks for the recommendation!!!