What is Self-Compassion?

Do you treat yourself as well as you treat your friends and family?

In the past, the answer for me was no, so when I came across this term ‘self-compassion‘ I didn’t really know what it meant or even how to be compassionate towards myself. I think some of my lack of self-compassion came from many years of conditioning as a professional tennis player, where pushing yourself to the limits and trying to be the best was required to survive. However, there are also other layers – including those little voices inside my head telling me “who I should be” instead of just accepting “who I am” in this moment.


So, What is Self-Compassion?

Christopher Germer in his book The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions refers to self-compassion as “… simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.” You can read more in his book below.

In Dr Kristin Neff’s book – Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, she talks about “Self-compassion entails three core components. First, it requires self-kindness, that we be gentle and understanding with ourselves rather than harshly critical and judgmental. Second, it requires recognition of our common humanity, feeling connected with others in the experience of life rather than feeling isolated and alienated by our suffering. Third, it requires mindfulness – that we hold our experience in balanced awareness, rather than ignoring our pain or exaggerating it. We must achieve and combine these three essential elements in order to be truly self-compassionate.” Please feel free to read more in her book –

How Self-Compassionate are You?

Would you like to find out how self-compassionate you are? Well, feel free to have a look at Dr Kristin Neff’s website link – how self-compassionate are you? The self-compassion ‘test’, comprises 26 statements and you choose the most appropriate response to each statement.

If you need some inspiration for self-compassion, why not have a look at our 20 Quotes to Inspire Self-Compassion? You may also like to see this clip by Dr Kristen Neff as she explains Self-Compassion or the space between self-esteem and self-compassion.


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 self-compassion in our one-to-one-coaching and mentoring sessions. Click here to find out more.

References –

Germer, C. (2009). The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions. New York: Guilford Press.

Neff, K. (2011). Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. New York, USA: HarperCollins Publishers.


  • Teresa

    Reply Reply April 14, 2019

    I’ve enjoyed reading the blogs. Just a friendly FYI, the Self-compassion test link took me to an “Error 404” page here in Western Australia. I do have a question regarding self-compassion for people in caring roles (I was once a renal nurse), but it applies to anyone acting in a similar capacity); if we make an error, the stakes are somewhat raised, would you not say? A mistake I made had the potential to injure or take the life of a patient. I completely understand the importance of self-compassion to arrest self-judgement, yet I needed to remain 100% focused to avert that situation in the first place. Bringing self-compassion to it seems to me to be saying “there there, it’s alright, you’re the only one whose needs matter here.” Clearly, that’s not the case, but that’s what I hear on the surface. I recognise the need for self-compassion, as I’ve wrestled off and on with self-loathing from age of about 13. Will view some of your clips as well, Dr Neff but when you can, an answer would be appreciated. Thank you – Kind Regards, Teresa

    • Jane

      Reply Reply April 14, 2019

      Thanks Teresa – I have updated the link for you. Yes, I hear what you are saying about your profession and there are many professions in that case. Are you part of a team in nursing? You might like to read Dr Neff’s book as she goes in to the research on that. Also, I have also a post on the myths about self-compassion herehttps://www.habitsforwellbeing.com/myths-or-misperceptions-about-self-compassion/

      Hope that helps, Jane

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