Self-compassion is an important part of being compassionate toward yourself and others. It helps us feel better when things aren’t going our way and makes us less judgmental of ourselves and others.
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What is self-compassion?
Self-compassion is the idea that we should treat ourselves with kindness, understanding, and acceptance. This includes:
- Noticing our feelings and not always judging them,
- Permitting ourselves to make mistakes,
- Developing a sense of common humanity by imagining how others would respond in those same situations,
- Doing things for one’s well-being, instead of always trying to do what is expected,
- Questioning our thoughts and feelings and challenging those that don’t serve us well.
Why should we practice self-compassion?
Self-compassion has been shown to increase happiness levels and decrease feelings of anxiety and depression. It’s considering ourselves with a gentler approach, as you would someone that you genuinely care for.
When we practice true compassion and acceptance of ourselves, we’re not lowering our standards but we’re instead allowing ourselves to be imperfectly human. From this mindset, we allow ourselves the opportunity for growth, rather than the possibility of being pessimistic in life.
A Few Examples of Self-Compassion Quotes
“The most important thing is to keep going.” – Albert Einstein
“The most important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.” –Albert Einstein
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
We often hear people say things like, “I am so stressed out right now, I feel like I need to take a break.” Or, “I just can’t seem to find any motivation to work on my project.” These statements are common because they reflect our tendency to focus on the negative aspects of our lives. However, focusing on the negatives only makes us feel worse.
Instead, try thinking about the positive side of your situation. What would happen if you were able to overcome your stress, anxiety, or lack of motivation? How would you feel? Would you be happier? If you think about the positives, you will start to see that there isn’t anything wrong with you. You are probably doing pretty well.
“It’s not who you know, but whom you help that counts.” – Henry David Thoreau
It is easy to become overwhelmed when faced with life’s challenges. This is especially true when dealing with personal issues such as depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem. However, one thing that can make a big difference is learning to be compassionate toward yourself. By practicing self-compassion, you can learn to accept yourself even when you aren’t feeling very happy or successful.
“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” – Robin Williams
Self-compassion is an active process of being kind to oneself in times of distress. (Baer & Neff, 2011) It involves recognizing our suffering and responding with kindness and understanding. (Neff, 2003) When we are kind to ourselves, we are also more likely to treat others with compassion. (Grossman et al., 2010)
The key to self-compassion is not just thinking nice thoughts, but doing something to help yourself feel better. (Kuyken et al., 2012) We need to develop a sense of self-kindness so that we can respond to our pain without becoming consumed by it. (Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson, 1999)
Practicing self-compassion means accepting what we cannot change and changing what we can. (Gilbert, 2006) If you want to heal, you have to first heal yourself. (Segal, 2002) To love thyself, thou must first set thee free. (William Blake)
“I am enough. I don’t need to prove myself to anyone. And, i have nothing to prove.” – Maya Angelou
Self-compassions are statements that reflect positive qualities such as I am worthy, competent, lovable, deserving, capable, etc. (Neff, 2013). They are often used to counter negative beliefs about ourselves, such as I’m stupid, ugly, worthless, etc. (Neffe, 2013).
For instance, when we think I’m too fat, we might say I’m beautiful, I’m smart, I’m strong, I’m talented, I’m successful, I’m good at math, I’m a good friend, I’m generous, I’m honest, I’m loyal, I’m patient, I’m kind, I’m brave, I’m courageous, I’m compassionate, I’m creative, I’m determined, I’m disciplined, I’m flexible, I’m forgiving, I’m reliable, I’m responsible, I’m trustworthy, I’m thinking, I’m hardworking, I’m intelligent, I’m organized, I’m punctual, I’m persistent, I’m efficient, I’m focused, I’m confident, I’m healthy, I’m happy, I’m optimistic, I’m spiritual. (Neff, 2013)
32 Self Compassion Quotes to Help You Feel Better About Yourself
- Being human is not about being any one particular way; it is about being as life creates you—with your particular strengths and weaknesses, gifts and challenges, quirks and oddities. – Kristin Neff
2. Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves, all those imperfections that we don’t even want to look at. – Pema Chodron
3. “You have peace,” the old woman said, “when you make it with yourself.” – Mitch Albom
4. Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others. – Christopher Germer
5. Self-compassion is a way of emotionally recharging our batteries. Rather than becoming drained by helping others, self-compassion allows us to fill up our internal reserves, so that we have more to give to those who need us. – Kristin Neff
6. Self-compassion is nurturing yourself with all the kindness and love you would shower on someone you cherish. – Debra Reble, PhD
7. SELF-COMPASSION IS KEY BECAUSE WHEN WE’RE ABLE TO BE GENTLE WITH OURSELVES AMID SHAME, WE’RE MORE LIKELY TO REACH OUT, CONNECT, AND EXPERIENCE EMPATHY. – BRENÉ BROWN
8. You’re already stuck with yourself for a lifetime. Why not improve this relationship? – Vironika Tugaleva
9. With mindfulness, loving-kindness, and self-compassion, we can begin to let go of our expectations about how life and those we love should be. – Sharon Salzberg
10. Healing takes self-compassion. – Juansen Dizon
11. Unlike self-criticism, which asks if you’re good enough, self-compassion asks, what’s good for you? – Kristin Neff
12. If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. – Jack Kornfield
13. The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. – Joseph Campbell
14. A MOMENT OF SELF-COMPASSION CAN CHANGE YOUR ENTIRE DAY. A STRING OF SUCH MOMENTS CAN CHANGE THE COURSE OF YOUR LIFE. – CHRISTOPHER GERMER
15. You, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. – Buddha
16. So why is self-compassion a more effective motivator than self-criticism? Because its driving force is love, not fear. – Kristin Neff
17. Self-compassion–being supportive and kind to yourself, especially in stress and failure–is associated with more motivation and better self-control. – Kelly McGonigal
18. Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are. – Malcolm Forbes
19. You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody. – Maya Angelou
20. YOU’VE BEEN CRITICIZING YOURSELF FOR YEARS, AND IT HASN’T WORKED. TRY APPROVING OF YOURSELF AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS. – LOUISE HAY
21. To be self-compassionate is not to be self-indulgent or self-centered. A major component of self-compassion is to be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with love, care, and dignity, and make your well-being a priority. With self-compassion, we still hold ourselves accountable professionally and personally, but there are no toxic emotions inflicted upon and towards ourselves. – Christopher Dines
22. Self-compassion: not judging yourself or allowing others to judge you, not blaming yourself, getting to know and accepting yourself, forgiving yourself, loving yourself, helping yourself overcome insecurities, respecting yourself, and protecting yourself. – Unknown
23. One thing is for sure–you will make mistakes. Learn to learn from them, learn to forgive yourself, and learn to laugh when everything falls apart because, sometimes, it will. – Vironika Tugaleva
24. Perhaps, we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us they know exactly how it should be done. – Rudy Francisco
25. If you are continually judging and criticizing yourself while trying to be kind to others, you are drawing artificial boundaries and distinctions that only lead to feelings of separation and isolation. – Kristin Neff
26. Practice self-compassion. Talk to and BE your own best, kind, compassionate, caring friend. – Kristin Neff
27. TAKING TIME TO RELAX EVERY DAY, SPENDING QUALITY TIME WITH FRIENDS, AND PRACTICING MINDFULNESS ARE SOME OF THE TRIED AND TESTED WAYS OF DEVELOPING SELF-COMPASSION. – DR. PREM JAGYASI
28. We develop self-compassion when we are present with the inner child within us when we learn about the child and understand the child. – Teal Swan
29. Self-compassion is an inoculation for the mind, protecting it from potential harm. The emotional disease cannot contaminate the minds of those who are wise enough to love and accept themselves. – Miya Yamanouchi
30. When we give ourselves compassion, we are opening our hearts in a way that can transform our lives. – Kristin Neff
31. Be kinder to yourself. And then let your kindness flood the world. – Pema Chodran
32. Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens. ― LOUISE L. HAY