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Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  3,618 Ratings  ·  233 Reviews
From leading psychologist Dr. Kristin Neff comes a step-by-step guide explaining how to be more self-compassionate and achieve your dreams in life

The relentless pursuit of high self-esteem has become a virtual religion—and a tyrannical one at that. Our ultracompetitive culture tells us we need to be constantly above average to feel good about ourselves, but there is always
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 19th 2011 by William Morrow
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I turn 20 in a week, and I could not have read this book at a better time. Having been raised in an abusive household, I always strive to live with kindness, understanding, and compassion in order to break free from my childhood. Kristin Neff's Self-Compassion has taught me many valuable lessons, including what specific behaviors and thoughts comprise compassion, as well as how to apply those principles to myself - one of the hardest things I have had to do in my life. A quote that shows Neff's ...more
Dec 19, 2012 AJW rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
A good book on a very important topic for me. Self-compassion is learning to love ourselves as we aspire to love those dear to us. It is not loving ourselves as being superior to others (i.e. believing I am better than you and special). I have periods when I hate myself, and most of the time I don't like who I am, so this was a challenging read. I have read a couple of research papers by Kristen Neff so I know this book is written on sound psychological principles. It is not a self-help book wri ...more
Jennifer Louden
Nothing new but a wonderful intro book for someone who has no idea what you mean when you say "Be a little nicer to yourself"

I also like her mantra:

This is a moment of suffering.
Suffering is part of life.
May I be kind to myself in this moment.
May I give myself the compassion I need.

Kristen maintains that recognizing our suffering is the first step in learning self-compassion. We can't just keep going forward, pretending nothing happened. And we don't want to through a huge self-pity party every
Mar 07, 2013 Shelley rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help
There's very useful, Buddhist-derived wisdom here, and some very practical tips for forgiving and nurturing yourself, as well as great exercises to do. In that sense, it was a very worthwhile read and it's been very helpful to me.

I was put off by the author's tone (it's breezy) as well as the frequent referrals to her website and use of her own life to illustrate points. By the end of the book, I sympathized/empathized with her much less than I did at the start.

Additionally, the studies cited w
Just finished reading this book, and I have to say I like it a lot. The author does a very good job of describing what self-compassion is and what it isn't. For example, it's not about ignoring problems (conflicts, mistakes made, negative emotions); it's not about indulging in procrastination or other escapes. Rather, the author argues, it's about viewing one's own situation with honesty, empathy, and awareness that suffering is part of the human condition; about treating yourself like you would ...more
Sep 28, 2012 Elise rated it really liked it
If you're looking for a book that's going to give you a pat on the back, tell you that you're awesome, or that you have a right to feel sorry for yourself...this book is not for you. I think part of me was secretly hoping for that self-righteous confidence boost, but what I got was something better: self-compassion. She won't so much tell you that you're "perfect just the way you are", or conversely that we must un-conditionally accept our faults, but does offer a balanced, understanding approac ...more
Nov 02, 2013 Catherine rated it it was ok
Quite a disappointment. The author is a specialist in the field of self-compassion and makes here an attempt to explain self-compassion to a large audience.

The author must be a great person, but unfortunately her book is not strong.

The exercises are not practical and difficult to apply (perhaps because I don't come from the same culture?). I found them superficial.

The examples often taken from the author's life didn't really interest me. I am already familiar with meditation and mindefulness
Oct 08, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it
This book came to my with a huge pile of other books I picked up at the library recently. ugh. that is how I feel when I take out too many books from the library and feel the pressure building as the days pass by and I don't have time to get to them.

But luckily, I did get to pick up this book and start reading before the time was up. I wasn't really sure what self compassion is or what it would look like. I now understand how important it is to comfort myself when I am feeling bad, no matter wh
Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)
This book is an uneasy combination of airy-fairy (my new favorite phrase) and academia. I believe that's a symptom of this being an emerging field where the standards of how to write about the subject aren't yet clear. Plus, I get the sense the author didn't want to write a popular psych book. I can't really blame her... however, those books sell like hotcakes. Then again, so is this one. (#1244 on Amazon as I type this review.) I think the keys to selling well with a nonfiction book are:

a) hot
Jan 02, 2012 Diane rated it really liked it
This very helpful book demonstrates that self-compassion is a better path to mental health and happiness than self-esteem. Dr. Neff is an expert on this subject, and uses a combination of western psychology, meditation, and Buddhist philosophy to demonstrate the method. It's a very enjoyable and interesting read, with personal examples from the author's life and exercises to help you put self-compassion into practice.
Aug 01, 2014 Lisa rated it it was amazing
I admit to being a bit of a self-help literature enthusiast. Hey, being a human (especially one living in this crazy 21st century) is hard! If a book can help someone find more peace of mind and skills for living, then I say that's all for the good!

Of all the books on my self-help shelf, Kristin Neff's Self Compassion just might be my absolute favorite. I discovered her book through the work of Brene Brown (whom I also love) and watched her TED talk, which I found very moving (https://www.youtu
Wai Yip Tung
Mar 08, 2012 Wai Yip Tung rated it really liked it
If we can have compassion for others, shouldn't we treat ourselves with just as much compassion, especially when we are in face of inevitable difficulties and failure? Kristin Neff bring out the concept of self-compassion. To be human is to err. So we should learn to treat ourselves kindly as we would treat others, to realized our life are connect to other human beings and to be mindful of our emotions.

I find this a very appealing concept. Rather than review the book in detail, I'd like to share
Jun 12, 2013 Jonathan rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: frenemies
Recommended to Jonathan by: Lucky I don't remember
Shelves: self-help
It's not often I don't finish a book, but I could not get past the first few chapters even with skimming. The tone of this book was sooooo annoying, i just couldn't take it anymore. The author apparently felt like she needed to dumb down her writing a little too much and all her examples were like of herself or other women who wanted to please their boyfriends or husbands or some crap like that. Barf. I'm sorry, but I just don't really empathize with your multiple marriages and affairs with olde ...more
Jan 18, 2017 Jacob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brain-health
The core of Self-Compassion and Neff's premise are entirely compelling. As piece of writing, however, Neff's book is woefully uneven.

This book's most persistent weakness is the writing, both in tone and approach. Often the book reads like the author is literally speaking to a large group instead of taking advantage of the written word to construct her case. She frequently gives anecdotes that are so flat and tailor-made to illustrate her point they feel entirely fabricated. So for much of this b
Dec 31, 2012 Deb rated it it was amazing
**Life is better when you can be kind to yourself**

Given the fact that we have to live with ourselves 24/7, it’s not too surprising just how important self-compassion is to our quality of life. This gem of a book is certainly a testament to that.

In the words of the author:
“Self-compassion is a powerful way to achieve emotional well-being and contentment in our lives. By giving ourselves unconditional kindness and comfort while embracing the human experience, difficult as it is, we avoid destru
Zaher Alhaj
Dec 20, 2013 Zaher Alhaj rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people having intense emotions of perfectionism and stress
When I first came across the term "Self-compassion", I told myself: "here we are with a new touchy-feely self-help nonsense", equaling it with "Self-pity". Shortly thereafter, I came across an article by the writer Neff on and then I found out that this concept is a real thread that is woven deeply in the fabric of our human nature.
From our early ages, we have been taught to be special and above average, forcing us to feel better than others, to seek the illusio
Jan 15, 2016 Jason rated it liked it
I found myself liking the second half of the book better than the first. The first part of the book was, to me, full of many platitudes and New Age-style exhortations that held little resonance with me. However, I'm glad I stuck with the book. At Chapter Seven ("Opting Out of the Self-Esteem Game"), the writing became more practical and less platitudinous. I found there were many good pieces of advice and several excellent meditations that I plan on using going forward. If you struggle from a la ...more
Jul 01, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
I heard Dr. Neff speak at a conference hosted by Harvard in May 2012 so was compelled to read her book. Great read on her research on self-compassion focusing on factors including self-compassion (self-kindness), mindfulness and belonging (connectedness). A must read for anyone looking to provide compassion-based therapy. Steeped in her own research and drawing from a Buddhist tradition. Also, a very accessible read.
Jun 24, 2011 Catie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Almost done with this one. If you are familiar with Buddhist philosophy, the concepts will not be new. She presents the ideas in a nice framework that's easy to digest and relate to. So far, I would recommend to anyone who tends toward beating themselves up. Some practical little tips of how to cultivate self-compassion.
Jan 03, 2013 Kristen rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I thought the idea of self-compassion as an alternative to self-esteem was original and brilliant.

"If one is cruel to himself, how can we expect him to be compassionate with others?" -Hasdai Ibn Shaprut.
Jun 10, 2011 Dina rated it really liked it
This is a new take on the same old idea of 'low self-esteem'. It resonates with everything else that I'm putting into practice and I will be reading this one again and again.
Abby Seixas
Aug 25, 2011 Abby Seixas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't love the writing style, but there are some good ideas and reminders about self-kindness.
Theresa Excell
May 01, 2012 Theresa Excell rated it really liked it
i wish i would have come across this sooner in my life :)
Laura Jordan
Jan 16, 2013 Laura Jordan rated it really liked it
Sometimes we need a friend. And sometimes that friend is us. Pretty sappy, but it's true.
Ellie C
So much of the content of this books feels obvious - of course we should treat ourselves as well as we try to treat others! It is all the more tragic that we - I - don't. The exercises outlined were varied enough to appeal to different learning/thinking styles. And while Neff doesn't discuss trauma work in great detail, I found lots of parallels to suggest that self-compassion exercises would work well in trauma-informed care practices (or schools!). At its core, this book is about allowing and ...more
Boekenwurm Saskia
Jan 31, 2016 Boekenwurm Saskia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Een helder verwoord zelfhulpboek.

‘De beste manier om iets tegen zelfkritiek te ondernemen is er inzicht in te krijgen, er compassie voor te voelen en die zelfkritiek vervolgens te vervangen door een vriendelijker reactie’. Dit zegt Kirstin Neff in haar boek Zelfcompassie waarvan dit jaar alweer de tiende druk verscheen en zo’n zeventienduizend exemplaren over de toonbank gingen. Verklaarbaar, want Zelfcompassie is een uitstekend hulpmiddel voor diegene die gelukkiger wil worden en spiritueel wil
Sep 28, 2016 Emily rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: recovering perfectionists.
I always joke that I wish I could eat books and have the stories live inside me, but this book is truly one I want to enter into every cell and fiber and corner of my being. I have always been so hard on myself, and now is no exception. This book is so wonderful. It has research, practical activities, and the author's own story woven through to present a convincing case for the absolute necessity of self-compassion for every person in this world. I want to live and breathe this book and use the ...more
Jul 04, 2015 Marine rated it it was amazing
I can't begin to explain how much i am in love with this book. It speaks truth and enlightened me on so many different levels.
Kristin gave many small simple exercises that we can practice on our own to practice kindness to ourself. She gave many real-life experiences and experiments held to prove her point. Very interesting to read.

Basically, the 3 basic fundamentals of self-compassions is Kindness, common humanity and mindfulness. She explains each components very clearly and easy to grasp ma
Dec 17, 2013 Zaphoddent rated it did not like it
There's a fine line between self compassion and indulgent self pitying obsession. This woman I feel has crossed that line. It just feels like the woman wanted to write about herself and injects here and there some general things on self compassion. This was more a vehicle for her poor little me pity party. The gist of this is her 'judgmental' husband pushed her away so she had an affair. Then she developed self compassion for her affair especially because the guy she cheated with was dying from ...more
David Miller
Dec 06, 2015 David Miller rated it liked it
Taking care of yourself properly is quite hard, especially for something that needs to be attended to throughout an entire lifetime. Most books like these tend to repeat the same message from one to the next; however, the value comes in its own way from hearing that message, over and over, and having it drilled deep into your head. The author's own experiences and perspectives, while secondary, do help in making that message stick.

Neff explains honestly and succinctly how she came to discover se
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Dr. Kristin Neff is an Associate Professor in Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas at Austin.

During Kristin’s last year of graduate school in 1997 she became interested in Buddhism, and has been practicing meditation in the Insight Meditation tradition ever since. While doing her post-doctoral work she decided to conduct research on self-compassion – a central construct in Budd
More about Kristin Neff...

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“Compassion is, by definition, relational. Compassion literally means “to suffer with,” which implies a basic mutuality in the experience of suffering. The emotion of compassion springs from the recognition that the human experience is imperfect.” 21 likes
“This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.” 10 likes
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