Kristin Neff, Ph.D., says that it’s time to “stop beating yourself up and leave insecurity behind.” Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind offers expert advice on how to limit self-criticism and offset its negative effects, enabling you to achieve your highest potential and a more contented, fulfilled life.
More and more, psychologists are turning away from an emphasis on self-esteem and moving toward self-compassion in the treatment of their patients—and Dr. Neff’s extraordinary book offers exercises and action plans for dealing with every emotionally debilitating struggle, be it parenting, weight loss, or any of the numerous trials of everyday living.
Through her encounters with eastern spirituality, Neff, an associate professor in human development at the University of Texas Austin, began to understand that having compassion for oneself is as important as having compassion for others: "From the Buddhist point of view, you have to care about yourself before you can really care about other people." As Neff defines it, self-compassion has three core components: self-kindness, realizing one's common humanity, and mindfulness. Self-kindness means being gentle and understanding, rather than harshly critical of our own errors. The recognition of common humanity involves feeling connected to others rather than alienated by our suffering. Mindfulness requires "that we hold our experience in balanced awareness, rather than ignoring our pain or exaggerating it." While exploring these three components in depth, Neff weaves in events that inform her own life, such as the "precipice of despair" she felt while struggling emotionally with her son's autism. By sharing such personal anecdotes, Neff helps readers understand how self-compassion can aid them. Neff's compassionate tone makes Buddhist principles accessible, and exercises make them applicable in real life.
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I grew up with a strong veneer. I was always so hard on myself reasoning that if I don't push myself, no one will. This viewpoint got me far in life. But it cost me. It cost me the ability to be compassionate with others let alone myself. I was so goal oriented, I never developed the tools to deal with emotions. Including self compassion. This book changed my life. And continues to do so. It opened up a world for me. I am ever grateful to Kristen Neff for having shared it.
Just try a loving kindness practice instead. Regurgitated and diluted wisdom mixed with obfuscating americanized example.