The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self-Compassion – Kristin Neff

For over 10 years Dr Kristin Neff has been studying self-compassion and ways people can be more self-compassionate to themselves in their lives.

In this 19.00min TEDx Talk, The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self-Compassion – Kristin Neff, talks about –

  • Treating ourselves with the same kindness, care and concern we treat our friends and family (i.e. having self-compassion towards ourself).
  • What self-esteem is – “… a global evaluation of self-worth. A judgement of am I a good person or am I a bad person?”
  • How self-esteem was the ultimate marker of psychological health – low self-esteem and high self-esteem.
  • The problem is not if you have self-esteem, but how you get it (i.e. to have high self-esteem we have to feel special and above average). Can we feel above average and special all of the time?
  • Is self-esteem contingent to success? What happens when we fail? What happens when we don’t meet our ideal standards or expectations?
  • The number one domain women invest in their self-esteem – our perception of how attractive we are.
  • How can we get off this treadmill of trying to be better than others so we can feel good about ourselves? That is where self-compassion comes in. Self-compassion is NOT about judging ourselves it is about relating to ourselves kindly and embracing ourselves as we are with all our our imperfections.
  • The 3 Components of Self-Compassion – self-kindness, common humanity (i.e. how am I the same as others instead of how am I different from others) and mindfulness (see the link below for further explanation).
  • Why we are so self-critical and the number one reason we are so self-critical is because we believe we need self-criticism to motivate ourselves. Is that really true?
  • How self-compassion is very strongly related to mental wellbeing, happiness, self-responsibility, life satisfaction and interpersonal relationships.
  • Self-compassion offers the benefits of self-esteem without the pitfalls (i.e. narcissism and constant social comparison).
  • When we are self-compassionate and open-hearted towards ourselves we can be self-compassionate with others (it is not self-indulgent or selfish).


What is Mindful Self-Compassion?

In her book Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, Kristin Neff refers to self compassion as having three components –

  1. Self-kindness – be gentle and understanding with ourselves rather than harshly critical and judgmental. 
  2. Common humanity – feeling connected with others in the experience of life rather than feeling isolated and alienated by our suffering (i.e. experiencing our imperfections).
  3. Mindfulness – that we hold our experience in balanced awareness, rather than ignoring our pain and exaggerating it. 

Over to You…

If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit or click here to find out more about the 8-week Mindful Self-Compassion course.

If you don’t live on the Gold Coast, we can also support you to create greater self-compassion in our one-to-one-mentoring sessions. Click here to find out more.