Self-Compassion: Have You Been Kind to Yourself Today?

Self-Compassion: Have You Been Kind to Yourself Today?

by Dr. Katie daCruz, PhD

Self-compassion is becoming a popular topic on psychology podcasts and social media. The simplest way to think about self-compassion is to think of giving ourselves the same kindness and care that we’d give to a good friend. Self-compassion is being talked about more because research in the last decade has shown that it benefits happiness and life satisfaction, reduces anxiety and depression, and improves coping with stressful life events like health crises and loss of loved ones.

Self-compassion involves being kind and understanding toward ourselves when we fail, experience pain, or feel inadequate. Instead of ignoring painful feelings or telling yourself “it’s not that bad”, a self-compassionate response is to recognize that something is really difficult and to consider how you can care for yourself.

 To practice self-compassion:

  • Notice that you are suffering, experiencing a difficult time, or are noticing things about yourself that you don’t like.

  • Respond with the same warmth, caring, and desire to help that you’d feel for another person in the same situation.

  • Recognize that similar suffering, failure, and imperfection is experienced by everyone. All humans experience failures, make mistakes, encounter loss, etc. So be kind to yourself when you too experience these things.

It’s important to know that self-compassion doesn’t mean that you can’t then try to change in ways that would bring you more happiness. When the focus is on self-criticism, the motivation for change comes from hurtful feelings of worthless or unacceptableness. With self-compassion, you can instead seek these changes because you care about yourself.

For more information about self-compassion, the work of Dr. Kristen Neff is a great resource. You can find her on instagram (@neffselfcompasion) and her book (Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself).

If you are interested in becoming more self-compassionate and think you would benefit from assistance with that, a therapist can also be a wonderful resource. Contact us at (734) 323-4897 or for more information.

Katie is a G3 Limited License Psychologist & Contributing Writer.