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Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  944 ratings  ·  92 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...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 19th 2011 by William Morrow
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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...more
AJW
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
Elise
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
Shelley
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...more
Peter
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
Lisa
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...more
Kristen
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...more
Zaher Alhaj
Jun 19, 2014 Zaher Alhaj rated it 4 of 5 stars
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 http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/ 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...more
Gloria Denoon
Neff’s definition of self-compassion has been extremely helpful to my personal practice. According to her, there are three doorways to self-compassion: kindness to oneself, common humanity (we all suffer but can support each other), and mindfulness.

No high theories. Very practical.

She gets extra credits for using her own personal experiences, some of which are big mistakes, in various analyses to show how we could turn missteps and sufferings to learning opportunities so that we can be more gen...more
Catherine
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...more
Lisa
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...more
Diane
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.
David
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.
Chibi
LOVED this book. Theoretically, it makes so much sense; putting it into practice will be the difficult part for me. So glad I bought it so I can refer back to it continually.
Dina
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
I don't love the writing style, but there are some good ideas and reminders about self-kindness.
Laura Jordan
Sometimes we need a friend. And sometimes that friend is us. Pretty sappy, but it's true.
Theresa Excell
i wish i would have come across this sooner in my life :)
Diane Dreher
Really important insights in this book.
Zaphoddent
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
Wai Yip Tung
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...more
Deb
**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...more
Elizabeth
This book is intended for the general audience, it is written in a fairly simple language, yet contains a very soft and compassionate tone.
The author presents compelling arguments, which are backed by research, why being compassionate to self is key to happy and healthy well-being. She highlights why self-compassion is lacking in our society and how to combat that. The book contains exercises in each chapter to help one become more aware of themselves and how to give yourself kindness and compa...more
Jane Settles cigarran
This was suggested to me by a dear friend, not my typical reading fare but very helpful. Not everything in here is for me but the parts that are were highly insightful. Recommended regardless of your current state of happiness...low or high, still relevant.
Jonathan
Jan 07, 2014 Jonathan rated it 1 of 5 stars
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
Natasha
I am listening to the audiobook version while walking in the mornings, and I find it very helpful. The audio version is good- just good, not great- but listenable. I am pretty picky about audiobook narration. I would prefer the book version for this title, particularly because there are exercises at the end of each chapter that I will never remember to go back and do, nor will I FF and RW a million times to find them again. I believe this book would be a good one to have in the Kindle-Audible sy...more
Natalia Toronchuk
If I understand it properly, "Self-Compassions"'s goal was to demonstrate how self-compassion is an effective way of dealing with suffering and coming to terms with reality, even if things are not perfect. It seeks to show how people can practice self-compassion, and how it compares to other coping mechanisms, such as self-esteem. It uses the author's personal story to show real-life applications of how to apply self-compassion and how it might feel and affect a person. It is not intended to be...more
Melissa Randles
I think this book offers some great tips and guided meditiations that were very helpful. That said, I had a diffiulty getting to the intersting parts because I was rather bored by the author's tone and choice of words. She did tell a couple of compelling personal stories, but didn't really make a good connection with me throughtout the book. I'm glad I read it, but it's definitely not my favorite self-development book I've read recently.
Todd Skiles
This book is amazing. My partner and I are reading it together. It's a good barometer to see how kind you are with yourself...and to that degree determines how genuinely kind and compassionate you can be with others. It's one of those books that provides exercises along the way so you don't breeze through the book and say, "Gee, that was a good read" and don't absorb any of it.
Leslie
I loved this book for its gentle approach to becoming happier through kindness, connectedness, and mindfulness. Combining research findings with personal stories, Neff explains how self-compassion is a far worthier goal than self-esteem. Exercises are provided to help readers understand how to bring self-compassion and self-appreciation into their own lives
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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
More about Kristin Neff...
Self-Compassion Step by Step: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself

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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.” 15 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.” 0 likes
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