Kristen Neff is an incredible researcher, her book and work I feel are not discussed enough in the world and I hope my podcast interview goes one step toward remedying that. I could have quoted a thousand parts of this podcast, but I wanted to share with you what she said about how the journey started, because if nothing else, this is enough to understand how important the conversation of Self-compassion really is.
Here is a snippet of my interview with Kristen, you can hear the full conversation by clicking on the button below.
"It's been really remarkable because when I first started people hadn't really heard of the idea, there was immediate suspicion about self-compassion. It's not gonna make you soft and weak and lazy. People still have those reactions. When I first introduced the construct to the field it hadn't really been looked at in psychology before. The way I got my foothold in, in psychology, was talking about how it's different than self-esteem and had a lot more benefits. Self-esteem is a judgement or an evaluation of self-worth. Self Compassion is just being kind to yourself, like you would be to a friend. The Latin for compassion means to suffer with, it's a way of relating to your suffering and difficulty. Compassion is relevant when you fail, when you make a mistake, when you're going through a hard time, self-esteem only tends to come in when you're succeeding, it deserts you and you fail. So that was the way I introduced it into the field. And now it just stands on its own two feet.
There's almost 4000 studies now on self-compassion it's just phenomenal. It's a whole entire field on its own. Self-compassion sells itself. I'm a messenger, but it's because it works. And now a lot of the research, has gone beyond just showing that people with higher trait levels of, more tendency to be kind to themselves, do better. Not a lot of the focus is on how to teach people how to be more self-compassionate. That's where my heart is, how do we help people learn this skill, because it is a skill. It's like not an inborn trait, it's a skill. Just like learning to be a good friend to someone else is a skill you develop over time, learning to be a good friend to yourself, it's a skill you develop over time, and it's life changing. It really is.