My friend Nikki posted a link to this recent Lifehacker article “To Succeed, Forget Self-Esteem”. It talks about the difference between self-esteem and self-compassion, and sums up in that typically succinct Lifehacker style what I’ve struggled to articulate re: being kinder to yourself doesn’t mean giving up on yourself or weight loss etc. I reckon self-compassion might be a better term for what I’m attempting to practice:
Self-compassion is a willingness to look at your own mistakes and shortcomings with kindness and understanding—it’s embracing the fact that to err is indeed human. When you are self-compassionate in the face of difficulty, you neither judge yourself harshly, nor feel the need to defensively focus on all your awesome qualities to protect your ego.
I also liked this bit:
“…it’s important to understand what self-compassion is not. While the spirit of self-compassion is to some degree captured in expressions like “give yourself a break” and “cut yourself some slack,” it is decidedly not the same thing as taking yourself off the hook or lowering the bar. You can be self-compassionate while still accepting responsibility for your performance. And you can be self-compassionate while striving for the most challenging goals—the difference lies not in where you want to end up, but in how you think about the ups and downs of your journey.”
The article goes on to say that self-compassion is powerful because it takes your ego out of the equation and, “You can get a realistic sense of your abilities and your actions, and figure out what needs to be done differently next time”.
Interesting stuff. Thanks Nikki!
Update: I hope I’m not freaking anyone out by writing about this stuff lately, but this article really has me thinking. So often I say or think really shitty things about myself, and I don’t find it helpful to look in a mirror and say YOU’RE AWESOME to counter that. But a little compassion, on the other hand, is something I feel I can work on.