Self-Compassion: The Key to Psychological Well-Being

 

Basically, self-compassion involves treating yourself with kindness, caring, nurturance, and concern, rather than being harshly judgmental or indifferent to your suffering. What distinguishes self-compassion from self-love or self-acceptance is that you frame your failures, your inadequacies, or the suffering in your life that’s not your fault in light of common humanity. Instead of feeling Oh, poor me, which is like self-pity, we understand that the human condition is tough. Humans aren’t perfect, and things go wrong. That’s the way it is for all of us. Also, people feel isolated, separated, and cutoff when they notice things about themselves that they don’t like or when something goes wrong. Another aspect of self-compassion is mindfulness. To have self-compassion, you have to be able to notice and become aware of your pain. A lot of people say, “Of course I’m aware of my pain,” but actually, in our culture’s stiff-upper-lip tradition, we’re often so busy solving the problem we don’t notice that the situation is really hard, especially when our pain comes from criticizing ourselves or seeing something about ourselves we don’t like. So we need to be mindful of the fact that we’re suffering; at the same time, we don’t want to get carried away in a personal drama that exaggerates the extent of our suffering. Self-compassion is seeing things as they are—no more, no less. That’s kind of a long-winded answer, but it’s necessary to think about all these facets of self-compassion to understand it in a more rich way..

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