The Value of Self-Compassion

In a Ted Talk featuring Kristen Neff entitled “The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self-Compassion,” Kristen highlights the importance of self-compassion and how it differs from self-esteem. Self-esteem, which is often classified as the confidence one has in their own value, is one in which we tend to place judgement on whether or not we are worthy. According to Kristen, “Self-compassion is not a way of judging ourselves. Self compassion is a way of relating to ourselves kindly; embracing ourselves as we are, flaws and all……When we give ourselves compassion, we actually reduce our cortisol levels and release oxytocin and opiates, which are the feel good hormones.”  She goes on to remark that there are three ways that we can do this:

  1. Self kindness: Am I treating myself as I would a good friend? (Really ask yourself this question; it is a great baseline!)
  2. Common humanity: How am I connected to others? How are our lives or experiences similar?
  3. Mindfulness: Am I trying to be in the moment? Am I focusing on what is happening presently?

By asking ourselves these questions, the way we relate to ourselves becomes more tender, opening up the space to understanding and empathy, not only for ourselves but for others as well.

To listen to the 19 min Ted Talk:

To visit Kristen Neff’s website:

Photo credit: http://Photo by Sandrachile . on Unsplash

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