You Are Worthy of Your Own Love
When someone is suffering or makes a mistake, I am quick to want to help and offer understanding and
kindness. However, when faced with my own suffering and personal inadequacies- what I usually offer
myself is criticism and punishment. Self- compassion is important for many reasons. Kristen Neff, a
leading researcher on self-compassion found that it is strongly associated with happiness, optimism,
positive affect, wisdom, personal initiative, curiosity and exploration, agreeableness, conscientiousness,
and extroversion. According to Neff, “Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various
inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted
with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?” There are 3 main
elements of self-compassion:
1. Self-kindness vs. self-judgment: Being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we
suffer, fail, or feel inadequate. Accepting that we cannot always be or get exactly what we want.
2. Common humanity vs. isolation: Recognizing that suffering and personal inadequacy is part of
the shared human experience. We are not alone.
3. Mindfulness vs. over-identification with thoughts: Observing thoughts and feelings as they are
in a non-judgmental manner without trying to suppress or deny them. While also not “over-
identifying” with these thoughts and feelings.
So, the next time you fail, fall short, or in any other way your “humanness shows,” remember to give
yourself the gift of self-compassion. For more information visit www.self-compassion.org.
Andrea Lowe, MSW, LCSW-S