By Kristin Neff, Ph.D.
Released by William Morrow April 2011
The relentless search for high self-esteem has become a virtual religion; and a tyrannical one at that. Our competitive culture tells us we need to be special and above average to feel good about ourselves, but we can’t all be above average at the same time. There is always someone richer, more attractive, or successful than we are. And even when we do manage to feel self-esteem for one golden moment, we can’t hold on to it. Our sense of self-worth bounces around like a ping-pong ball, rising and falling in lock-step with our latest success or failure.
Fortunately, there is an alternative to self-esteem that many psychologists believe is a better and more effective path to happiness: self-compassion. The research of Dr. Kristin Neff and others strongly suggests that people who are more self-compassionate lead healthier, more productive lives than those who are self-critical. And the feelings of security and self-worth provided by self-compassion are highly stable. Self-compassion steps in precisely when we fall down, allowing us to get up and try again.
Dr. Neff helps readers understand that compassion isn’t only something that we should apply to others. Just as we’d have compassion for a good friend who was going through a hard time or felt inadequate in some way, why not for ourselves? Many people believe that they need to be self-critical to motivate themselves, but in fact they just end up feeling anxious, incompetent and depressed. Dr. Neff’s research shows that far from encouraging self-indulgence, self-compassion helps us to see ourselves clearly and make needed changes because we care about ourselves and want to reach our full potential.
This groundbreaking book shows readers how to let go of their constant, debilitating self-judgment and finally learn to be kind to themselves. Using solid empirical research, personal stories, humor, and dozens of practical exercises, Dr. Neff—the world’s leading experts on self-compassion—shows readers how to heal the wounds of the past so that they can be healthier, happier and more effective. Entertaining, highly readable and eminently accessible, this book has the power to change your life.
– Brené Brown, Ph.D., author of The Gifts of Imperfection
“A portable friend to all readers—especially but not only women—who need to learn that the Golden Rule works only if it’s reversible: We must learn to treat ourselves as well as we wish to treat others.”
– Gloria Steinem, feminist organizer and author of Revolution from Within”
“An original and doable blueprint for improving the quality of your life.”
– Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ph.D., author of Flow
“A beautiful book that helps us all see the way to cure the world—one person at a time—starting with yourself. Read it and start the journey.”
– Rosie O’Donnell, talk show host
“In this deeply personal, highly practical book, Kristin Neff moves the entire field of compassion studies forward… Self-Compassion offers us a liberating path we can follow right where we are.”
– Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness
“This is an important book. Following its advice can free readers from the chains of self-criticism and replace them with the wings of self-encouragement.”
– Steven Stosny, Ph.D., author of Love Without Hurt
“Drawing on a powerful blend of Western psychology and Eastern meditative strategies, Kristin Neff offers practical, wise guidance on the path of emotional healing and deep inner transformation.”
– Tara Brach, Ph.D., author of Radical Acceptance
“This book and its courageous and compassionate author will become essential reading for all of us seeking inner peace and true, lasting happiness in our lives. Savor and enjoy!”
– Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., author of Mindsight
“Brilliant! Self-compassion is a revolutionary new idea—a better idea—pioneered by the author, Kristin Neff, with profound implications for how to live our lives. ”
– Christopher K. Germer, Ph.D., author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion
“Based on state-of-the-art research, Neff provides essential lessons for how to excel personally and professionally through self-compassion.”
– Todd B. Kashdan, Ph.D., author of Curious? and Designing Positive Psychology