How to Become a Friend to Yourself

How to Become a Friend to Yourself

This article is from a few years ago.

But it’s on a topic that I’ve increasingly come to believe is THE MOST IMPORTANT topic when it comes to health and wellbeing, happiness and life satisfaction.

What could that be?

It’s self-compassion; a foundational construct for positive emotions like happiness …

via the Greater Good by Bianca Bartels

Treating yourself with a little kindness. How hard can it be?

Harder than we think. Still, it’s just about the most important thing we can do. That’s the message from professor and self-compassion researcher Kristin Neff and psychotherapist Christopher Germer, co-developers of a program for strengthening this crucial skill.

“You need self-compassion to stay friendly with other people in the long term,” says Germer. “When all you do is give and give, you get burned out.”

Many people are skeptical when they first hear the term “self-compassion,” because it sounds like just sitting around feeling sorry for yourself, or maybe even acting selfishly. But Neff and Germer assure me that’s not what it’s about. In fact, quite the opposite. Their Mindful Self-Compassion method cultivates self-acceptance, inner strength, and personal growth.

In the interview below, they tell me about their mission to make the world happier—and explain, with great patience, the subtle differences between self-compassion, self-confidence, and self-esteem, as well as the importance of kindness, mindfulness, and a sense of our common humanity.

Bianca Bartels: Why do we need mindful self-compassion?

Kristin Neff and Chris GermerKristin Neff and Chris Germer

Kristin Neff: Because we’re not kind and supportive to ourselves. We’re much nicer to other people. When you’re self-critical all the time, the inner voice in your head is always cutting you down. That undermines your ability to be happy.

But in fact, we already know how to respond to failure with kindness. Imagine a friend calls you up in tears because her partner just broke up with her. Would you say, “Well, to be honest, it’s probably because you’re old, ugly, and boring, and because you make a needy, pushy impression on other people. And you’re at least 20 pounds overweight. I don’t know why you keep trying. After all, you have a snowball’s chance in hell of running into someone who really loves you. You just don’t deserve it.”

Of course you wouldn’t say something like that to someone you care about. But we do have this type of conversation with ourselves all the time in similar situations. At least two thirds of people do this, and the percentage is even higher among women. Everyone needs self-compassion in order to cope with their own pain, however slight or severe it may be. Fortunately, we can learn to have greater compassion for ourselves.

Chris Germer: You also need self-compassion to stay friendly with other people in the long term. When all you do is give and give, you get burned out.

BB: Still, many people think that self-compassion is basically self-pity and makes you passive and lazy...

… keep reading the full & original article HERE