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  • Writer's pictureCassandra Crawford

What is Self-Compassion and how is this different than self-care?

You've probably heard of the term self-care and what comes to mind? Bubble baths and hot chocolate? That is what most people think of, and then they say who has time for that!

But what does it mean to be self-compassionate? and what is it?

In order to understand and be compassionate to someone you must first acknowledge that they are suffering and that you can empathize with their pain, where your heart feels warmth, care and desire to help. Dr. Kristin Neff, the pioneer in self-compassion research and studies also describes "Having compassion also means that you offer understanding and kindness to others when they fail or make mistakes, rather than judging them harshly". So self-compassion is the act of behaving that way toward the self, and recognizing that the pain, suffering, failure, and imperfections are actually part of that shared human experience.

as outlined by Dr. Neff, self-compassion is really about 3 key components, which are (1) Self-kindness, or treating ourselves like we would treat a friend, (2) Common Humanity, or reminding ourselves that others suffer like we do, and (3) Mindfulness, or learning to be in the present moment without judgement.

What self-compassion is not: self compassion is not self pity or selfishness, it is not self esteem or self indulgence.

"When individuals feel self-pity, they become immersed in their own problems and forget that others have similar problems.  They ignore their interconnections with others, and instead feel that they are the only ones in the world who are suffering. Self-pity tends to emphasize egocentric feelings of separation from others and exaggerate the extent of personal suffering. Self-compassion, on the other hand, allows one to see the related experiences of self and other without these feelings of isolation and disconnection" - Neff

It can also be very useful in recovering and treating trauma when dealing with feelings of shame and self-blame.

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