Steps to Self-Compassion

Kristin Neff is a researcher on the topic of self-compassion and author of “Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself.” She believes that there are three steps toward greater self-compassion. Her book sounds interesting and I’ll put in my listening queue.

According to a recent Washington Post article by Carrie Dennett, the three steps or aspects of self-compassion are:

  •      Mindfulness
  •      Common Humanity
  •      Self-Kindness

At the risk of getting a brain cramp, today let’s just look at the first of Neff’s steps to self-compassion, mindfulness.  We need to learn how to think about what we’re thinking about or at least think about what we’re feeling. The tricky part is to do so without judging those feelings. Mindfulness, when practiced, can allow us to simply be aware but not judgmental of the feelings, thoughts, and experiences we encounter. Don’t dwell on the thought/feeling, just make note of it and let it go.

Approaching various feelings and thoughts with non-judgmental awareness takes practice and time. I find it helpful to try to hold an attitude of curiosity. Being curious tends to feel good. I believe that evolution may have rewarded curious creatures, including our ancestors. So that might be why being curious tends to be fun. Whenever you become aware of a feeling or thought, seek only to notice it, identify it and release it. Try to resist the familiar habit of trying to resolve or suppress it.

Maybe something like this will help:

“Here comes a feeling.”


“Here is the feeling.”


This feeling is called _______.


I release this feeling.


Perhaps we can take a look at the other steps later this week.

Consider reading Carrie Dennett’s article in the Washington Post. (link below)

Be kinder to yourself. Research shows it could make you healthier.

Thanks for being kind to you (and please remember to be patient with yourself throughout this process!)

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