The Three Components of Self-compassion
Self-kindness versus self-judgement: Being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or punishing ourselves with self-criticism or judgement.
Common humanity versus isolation: Recognise that suffering and personal inadequacy are part of the shared human experience we all go through rather than being something that happens to “me” alone.
Mindfulness versus over-identification: Taking a balanced approach to our negative emotions and being mindful not to suppress or exaggerate them. We can observe and process our thoughts and feeling without over-identifying with them.
The Yin and The Yang
When faced with a challenge – consciously choosing self-compassion means you are more likely to succeed at home, work and make a significant impact in the world. There are two types of self-compassion, and when we recognise the difference, we start to become aware of how to practice them. Dr Kristin Neff explains that the quintessential question of self-compassion is “What do I need right now?”
Most people think of self-compassion as soft and gentle, but self-compassion can be both fierce and tender. It’s essential that, like yin and yang, these two faces of self-compassion are balanced and integrated.
Tender self-compassion involves “being with” ourselves in an accepting way: comforting ourselves, reassuring ourselves that we aren’t alone, and being present with our pain.
Fierce self-compassion involves “acting in the world” to alleviate suffering. It tends to involve protecting, providing for, and motivating ourselves. Sometimes we need to stand tall and say no, draw boundaries, or fight injustice.