Self-Compassion – 3

This journey of exploring the concept of compassion has grown into something bigger than I originally intended. I feel it is important to share with you, as it is a vehicle that fosters positive change. And we certainly need that in this world of ours! Yesterday I mentioned there were two interesting tools Prof Paul Gilbert introduced in his video on Compassion in Action.

Change starts with the self. Small steps, single steps are the beginning of a new journey. Being compassionate to self changes the internal and external world for the better. The momentum from that heart-centred way of being will then naturally flow out to others: Compassion in Action.

The first of the tools is the Compassionate Breath, the subject of yesterday’s post.

The second is Self-Compassion, the subject for today’s post.

‘Over the last decade or so, research has consistently shown a positive correlation between self-compassion and psychological well-being. People who have self-compassion also have greater social connectedness, emotional intelligence, happiness, and overall life satisfaction. Self-compassion has also been shown to correlate with less anxiety, depression, shame, and fear of failure.’

Dr Kristin Neff’s website is dedicated to self-compassion.

‘With self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend.’

This is Exercise One on her website –

“How would you treat a friend”

Please take out a sheet of paper and answer the following questions:

  1. First, think about times when a close friend feels really bad about him or herself or is really struggling in some way. How would you respond to your friend in this situation (especially when you’re at your best)? Please write down what you typically do, what you say, and note the tone in which you typically talk to your friends.
  2. Now think about times when you feel bad about yourself or are struggling. How do you typically respond to yourself in these situations? Please write down what you typically do, what you say, and note the tone in which you talk to yourself.
  3. Did you notice a difference? If so, ask yourself why. What factors or fears come into play that lead you to treat yourself and others so differently?
  4. Please write down how you think things might change if you responded to yourself in the same way you typically respond to a close friend when you’re suffering.

Why not try treating yourself like a good friend and see what happens?’

I have just listened to another interesting video (48 mins) put out by the Prof called Compassion for the Dark Side. It addresses the importance of offsetting the dark side of our human nature. It’s easy to be compassionate under normal circumstances. But when things get hard, messy, hateful, whether it be in yourself or others, it becomes a lot harder. Yet it is at these times it becomes even more important to be compassionate. At the 39 minute mark the Prof talks about it’s qualities  and what it is about compassion that makes it so important.

Raili Tanska

Be your own best friend

12 thoughts on “Self-Compassion – 3

  1. Thanks Raili,
    Definite need to revisit post. Definitely times when working in caring profession excercised my duty of care to clients but not to myself which was to my detriment.
    Gradually organisation evolved from a caring, family type one to one of dog eat dog.

  2. Raili, your post today strikes me as brilliance in a nutshell. I am especially impressed by the technique you offer for developing self-compassion. That is a technique I believe I can profitably use. I know it works because — to the extent I have developed any self compassion — it has been through treating myself like I would treat a friend. But I have yet to do it systematically, formally as you suggest. That, I am going to to start doing at once.

    I’m wondering at the moment if your series on compassion wasn’t the subconscious inspiration for my latest post. It has just struck me how I can see it as such. Earlier today, I posted on how it seems to me we all too often these days treat each other like interchangeable grains of rice. The interesting thing — and this may have been inspired by you, because I have been spending time thinking over your series — is that I approached the subject via discussing how people feel they are not being treated with compassion and empathy by others.

    If your interested here’s the link, but please feel under no obligation to read the post.

    Thank you for your series, Raili. It is proving to be very valuable. I am going to refer a certain young friend to it. She works three jobs and might not feel she has time to comment on it, but I think she will read it.

    1. Paul, it delights me that I have managed to inspire you! I will read your post, definitely, but right now I need to go put compassion in action for a friend in need.
      Bless you, Paul 🤗😘

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