Self-Compassion Is Not Self-Esteem

It’s a common mistake made between self-compassion and self-esteem. Just like we can easily swap in error sympathy and empathy which are also very different. Our self-identity is really hard to measure ourselves from our point of view. We sometimes need the feedback or another third party to help us out.

I found this test you can take by Dr. Kristin Neff on her official website. Dr. Neff has been recognized as being the first one to operationally define and measure the self-compassion for over 10 years. I decided to test my level of self-compassion.

Here’s the link if you liked to try yourself:

It was interesting to look at the scores for myself. I scored high for overall compassion barely. Mostly because my highest attribute mindfulness (which I have been practicing for almost a year now daily) balanced me out. Being mindful does an incredible job helping me to obviously find self-awareness. That self-awareness in turn helps me recognize and deal with emotions better that I feel. Self-judgement, over-identification, and isolation scores were low which is what you want them to be according to the assessment. Now I know, so now I can work on getting them higher.

With self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend. – Dr. Kristin Neff

Kristin does a great job of really simplifying self-compassion into three elements that we can work through to improve our work with being more kind and caring to ourselves.

  • Self-kindness vs. self-judgement (one that’s hard for me) is aligned to seeing ourselves as imperfect. If you’re a perfectionist this one is really hard and one to be mindful of. You have to be able to respond to failure of any kind with an understanding that things will not always go as hoped. Furthermore, that its okay. My wife always tells me, all you can do is your best.
  • Common humanity vs. isolation. Isolation is good for meditation and mindfulness practices. But, bad when we think we’re the only one feeling the way we do. However, to error as they say is human right? When we can understand and connect to that idea, we’ll start to see others in the same boat. Even better, when we see humanity in the same space having the same difficulty, a community of support can be built.
  • Mindfulness vs. over-identification. We cannot stop negative emotions from encroaching in on us, but we can choose how we deal with them once they’re there. It’s all about balance. Practicing regular mediation or mindfulness techniques can equalize our emotions so we don’t get swept away by them.

Here’s a great video I found of Kristin really explaining the three points in her own words. (6 min.)

We’re human. And with that, it comes with a lot of things that go wrong in our life. I hope you found some common humanity with me on the series the past week on compassion. Maybe even some work you might need to do on yourself and with others through compassion.

The next series I have planned for this week to wrap up May with is going to be around simplicity. Simple can be a lot harder than complex.

Thanks for reading and hope you’re week starts off incredible!

✌🏻 Shawn

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