Self-Compassion - The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself

How much do I want to read more? 8/10

A nice well-written book. It questions the pursuit of self-esteem, and suggest to replace it with compassion.



This kind of compulsive concern with “I, me, and mine” isn’t the same as loving ourselves . . . Loving ourselves points us to capacities of resilience, compassion, and understanding within that are simply part of being alive.

—- SHARON SALZBERG, The Force of Kindness

Anything less seems like a failure.

To see ourselves positively, we tend to inflate our own egos and put others down so that we can feel good in comparison. But this strategy comes at a price—it holds us back from reaching our full potential in life.

Distorting Mirrors

Each person blames the other for saying or doing something wrong, justifying their own actions as if their life depended on it, while both know, in their heart of hearts, that it takes two to tango. How much time do we waste like this?

How can we grow if we can’t acknowledge our own weaknesses? We might temporarily feel better about ourselves by ignoring our flaws, or by believing our issues and difficulties are somebody else’s fault, but in the long run we only harm ourselves by getting stuck in endless cycles of stagnation and conflict.

The Costs of Self-Judgment

Continually feeding our need for positive self-evaluation is a bit like stuffing ourselves with candy.
we can’t always blame our problems on someone else. We can’t always feel special and above average.

In areas where it is hard to fool ourselves—when comparing our weight to those of magazine models, for instance, or our bank accounts to those of the rich and successful—we cause ourselves incredible amounts of emotional pain.

Insecurity, anxiety, and depression are incredibly common in our society, and much of this is due to self-judgment, to beating ourselves up when we feel we aren’t winning in the game of life.

Another Way

So what’s the answer? To stop judging and evaluating ourselves altogether. To stop trying to label ourselves as “good” or “bad” and simply accept ourselves with an open heart.
To treat ourselves with the same kindness, caring, and compassion we would show to a good friend.

From the Buddhist point of view, you have to care about yourself before you can really care about other people.
If you are continually judging and criticizing yourself while trying to be kind to others, you are drawing artificial boundaries and distinctions that only lead to feelings of separation and isolation. This is the opposite of oneness, interconnection, and universal love.

I wasn’t making myself a better person by beating myself up all the time.
I wanted to know more about how people determine their sense of self-worth.
Although thousands of articles had been written on the importance of self-esteem, researchers were now starting to point out all the traps that people can fall into when they try to get and keep a sense of high self-esteem: narcissism, self-absorption, self-righteous anger, prejudice, discrimination, and so on.
I realized that self-compassion was the perfect alternative to the relentless pursuit of self-esteem. Why? Because it offers the same protection against harsh self-criticism as self-esteem, but without the need to see ourselves as perfect or as better than others. In other words, self- compassion provides the same benefits as high self-esteem without its drawbacks.

compassion is the same whether we direct it to ourselves or to other people.