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  • Writer's pictureDr. Davis

Compassion for yourself

I was a graduate student when I first heard Kristin Neff (pioneer in the field of self-compassion) speak. I remember being blown away by this concept of being kind towards yourself.

As a student I had a crazy schedule, juggling two labs, three clinical sites, a dissertation, and classes. I felt the need to always do more and work harder. My self-talk was understandably unkind. I needed to hear that it is okay to be kind towards me.

Self-compassion is not just a mantra, it involves mindfulness, recognizing the humanness in suffering, and being understanding and warm in the midst of pain.

There’s often the fear that if you’re compassionate, it’ll lead to idleness or low achievement. There’s research to show the opposite. Being compassionate can help you achieve things. As it turns out, shame is not the best motivator. ⁠ The goal though is not to become the highest achiever. It’s to adjust the way we treat ourselves. You are unlikely to berate a friend who is suffering and in the same spirit you can choose to treat yourself gentler when you’re in pain. ⁠

If you’ve never explored this area, I’d strongly suggest visiting self-compassion.org; there are free exercises and resources that can help you start on the journey of being kind towards yourself.

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