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Self-compassion is extending compassion to one's self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering. Dr. Kristin Neff has defined self-compassion as being composed of three main components - self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.[1]

Self-compassion is different from self-pity, a state of mind or emotional response of a person believing to be a victim and lacking the confidence and competence to cope with an adverse situation.

Much of the research conducted on self-compassion so far has used the Self-Compassion Scale,[1] which measures the degree to which individuals display self-kindness against self-judgment, common humanity versus isolation, and mindfulness versus over-identification. Research indicates that self-compassionate individuals experience greater psychological health than those who lack self-compassion. For example, self-compassion is positively associated with life-satisfaction, wisdom, happiness, optimism, curiosity, learning goals, social connectedness, personal responsibility, and emotional resilience. At the same time, it is negatively associated with self-criticism, depression, anxiety, rumination, thought suppression, perfectionism, and disordered eating attitudes [1][5][6][7][8][9][10]

Although psychologists extolled the benefits of self-esteem for many years, recent research has exposed costs associated with the pursuit of high self-esteem,[11] including narcissism,[12] distorted self-perceptions,[13] contingent and/or unstable self-worth,[14] as well as anger and violence toward those who threaten the ego.[15]

It appears that self-compassion offers the same mental health benefits as self-esteem, but with fewer of its drawbacks such as narcissism, ego-defensive anger, inaccurate self-perceptions, self-worth contingency, or social comparison.[7][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Neff, K. D. (2003a). "The development and validation of a scale to measure self-compassion". Self and Identity 2 (3): 223–250. doi:10.1080/15298860309027. 
  2. ^ Brown, K. W.; Ryan, R. M. (2003). "The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84 (4): 822–848. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.84.4.822. PMID 12703651. 
  3. ^ Bishop, S. R.; Lau, M.; Shapiro, S.; Carlson, L.; Anderson, N. D.; Carmody, J.; Segal, Z. V. Abbey; Speca, M.; Velting, D. Devins et al. (2004). "Mindfulness: A Proposed Operational Definition". Clinical Psychology Science and Practice 11: 191–206. 
  4. ^ Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1991). "Responses to depression and their effects on the duration of depressive episodes". Journal of Abnormal Psychology 100 (4): 569–582. doi:10.1037/0021-843X.100.4.569. PMID 1757671. 
  5. ^ Adams, C. E., & Leary, M. R. (in press). Promoting Self-compassionate Attitudes toward Eating Among Restrictive and Guilty Eaters. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.
  6. ^ Gilbert, & Irons, 2005
  7. ^ a b Leary, M. R.; Tate, E. B.; Adams, C. E.; Allen, A. B.; Hancock, J. (2007). "Self-compassion and reactions to unpleasant self-relevant events: The implications of treating oneself kindly". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 92 (5): 887–904. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.92.5.887. PMID 17484611. 
  8. ^ Neff, K. D.; Hseih, Y.; Dejitthirat, K. (2005). "Self-compassion, achievement goals, and coping with academic failure". Self and Identity 4 (3): 263–287. doi:10.1080/13576500444000317. 
  9. ^ Neff, K. D.; Kirkpatrick, K.; Rude, S. S. (2007). "Self-compassion and its link to adaptive psychological functioning". Journal of Research in Personality 41: 139–154. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2006.03.004. 
  10. ^ Neff, K. D.; Rude, S. S.; Kirkpatrick, K. (2007). "An examination of self-compassion in relation to positive psychological functioning and personality traits". Journal of Research in Personality 41 (4): 908–916. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2006.08.002. 
  11. ^ Crocker, J.; Park, L. E. (2004). "The costly pursuit of self-esteem". Psychological Bulletin 130 (3): 392–414. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.130.3.392. PMID 15122925. 
  12. ^ Bushman, B. J.; Baumeister, R. F. (1998). "Threatened egotism, narcissism, self-esteem, and direct and displaced aggression: Does self-love or self-hate lead to violence?". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 75 (1): 219–229. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.75.1.219. PMID 9686460. 
  13. ^ Sedikides, C. (1993). "Assessment, enhancement, and verification determinants of the self-evaluation process". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 65 (2): 317–338. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.65.2.317. 
  14. ^ Crocker, J.; Wolfe, C. T. (2001). "Contingencies of self-worth". Psychological Review 108 (3): 593–623. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.108.3.593. PMID 11488379. 
  15. ^ Baumeister, R. F.; Smart, L.; Boden, J. M. (1996). "Relation of threatened egotism to violence and aggression: The dark side of high self-esteem". Psychological Review 103 (1): 5–33. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.103.1.5. PMID 8650299. 
  16. ^ Neff, K. D & Vonk, R. (submitted). Self-compassion versus self-esteem: Two different ways of relating to oneself. Manuscript submitted for publication.

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