Living In Gratitude: Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is a more effective motivator than self-criticism because its driving force is love, not fear.

– Kristin Neff

A pioneer in self-compassion, Dr. Kristin Neff has researched this trait for over 20 years. In her most recent book, Fierce Self-Compassion, she discusses the duality of self-compassion as equal parts tenderness and fierceness.

Self-compassion extends kindness and understanding to oneself in situations of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering. Self-compassion is positive, rewarding, and intrinsically energizing. By opening our hearts, we open up to an infinite abundance of compassion. The more it flows inward, the more it can flow outward, explains Neff.

Tender self-compassion helps us to be kind and gentle to ourselves. It guides us to the realization that we are only human, that we are bound to make mistakes, to encounter failure and setbacks. 

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Living In Gratitude: Compassion

The human brain has a systematic process to assess information rapidly. Part of this includes taking in and immediately evaluating details presented to us. Most of the time, this data input is so fast that we don’t recognize that we are forming opinions and making snap judgments.

Every single day, we judge situations and people. We make assumptions and, dare we admit, jump to conclusions.

Having compassion for ourselves and others evokes a different response. Compassion requires awareness of our judgmental thoughts and preconceived ideas. It asks for genuine concern and empathy for the plight of others.

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