Self-Compassion

The past three weeks have had me sitting in front of the computer trying to write a piece for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature. My “day job” of being a university teacher means that I do research and write in addition to teaching and service. While I love my job, I do find writing very difficult. Mostly, I find it difficult because I don’t feel I’m very good at it.

As I sat down once again this morning, with the deadline now one day passed, I feel myself seize and I cannot write. I realize that I’ve not checked my email for four days, and so I decide to do that. And, as these things sometime happen, I read an email from Mindful that changes my perspective.

According to Kristin Neff, I shouldn’t be worrying about whether or not I’m good enough, I can have a little self-compassion:

“There is another way to feel good about ourselves that does not involve evaluating how good or worthy we are: Self-compassion is not based on positive evaluations of ourselves. Rather, it is a way of relating to ourselves. It involves being caring and supportive to ourselves when we fail, feel inadequate, or struggle in life—extending the same feelings of compassion to ourselves that we typically extend to others.”

I’m going to try this on. It certainly sounds better than the alternative.

For more details on self-compassion, read Neff’s article:

Neff, Kristen. 2016. “Don’t Fall into the Self-Esteem Trap: Try a Little Self-Kindness.” Mindful, February 17. http://www.mindful.org/dont-fall-into-the-self-esteem-trap-try-a-little-self-kindness/.

4 Responses

  1. Susan says:

    I love that idea. And, by the way, of course you are a great writer. You are a great communicator and so…. just let those great thoughts float out of your head and onto the page.

  2. SueB says:

    This was a month ago, so you’ve undoubtedly crossed the finish on the work you were doing but I just wanted you to know I agree with Susan … you’re a great writer and communicator. Just get the thoughts down and organize them later. Getting them out of your head in a jumble is sometimes the best you can do; then you can arrange them in better ways. Same way your new students approach yoga. Just get in the class and move a little; you can always improve as you go. It’s the start that’s always hardest.

    • DiDi says:

      Ahhh, thank you, SueB. Interesting, both of the writing Susans in my life taking the time to write me. I will channel both of you when the revisions come back! xox

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