Self Compassion by Kristin Neff reviewed by Celine
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Date of publication: 2011
This is a hefty book suitable as a text book for someone studying in this field. It is easy to read and in 283 pages covers 3 core components of being empathetic and gentle and kind to oneself:
I like the fact that this book has exercises for each of its 13 Chapters which are arranged in 5 Parts.
2.The Core Components of Self Compassion
3.The Benefits of Self-Compassion
4.Self-Compassion in Relation to Others
5. The Joy of Self-Compassion
I did find some repetitiveness or over-lap with some key ideas throughout the book and wonder if it could have been reduced in length. As it was, I actually skipped reading 2 whole Chapters which I felt that I didn’t need to read.
That said, if you finish reading a book and it has changed you for the good, then it is a successful book, I think. I picked up this book because I wanted to see what the “literature” said about self-compassion and find out if the concept would help me.
After reading this book, which took quite a while, I discovered that I was a lot kinder toward myself, and for this reason I recommend the book to those who tend to be harsh toward themselves or have high expectations, and to criticize themselves.
Kristin has some very interesting content in her book including lots of research about measures of self-compassion and self-esteem, and how self-esteem is a limiting concept (more about feeling one is capable but dangerously this can be based upon what you have done, not upon what you can do or feeling good about yourself).
Self-compassion is defined by Kristin as empathy toward oneself. I would go further and say it is also about understanding and forgiving oneself. The author does cover these elements and points out that depression means feeling upset over something that didn’t happen in the past, that you wanted; and anxiety means feeling upset over something negative that you think will happen in the future.
Kristin Neff goes into detail about her own personal experiences with self-compassion helping her, including that she has a boy with autism, Rowan, and how her husband and her helped him. They found that their son Rowan responded well to horses, and eventually their foundation the Horse Boy was created.
This book is well worth reading, even if it takes you months to finish it by reading a couple of chapters now and then. I like to use the following mantra from the book.
May I be safe
May I be peaceful
May I be kind to myself
May I accept myself as I am
Another affirmation that I like to use is:
I love and approve of myself. I trust the process of Life.
Now, I have read some people saying that “affirmations don’t work.” Well I think this is too general a statement, and would avoid sweeping statements about anything. We need to be precise with what we say / think and do, in my opinion.
One can’t just say “I am a millionaire” for example, without emotion and feeling or expectation or being open to this happening. Advocates of “the Secret” say one has to then “image” this or hold it as a mental picture for hours but not tightly – it has to be focused upon with a gentle focus.
There has to be enough softness to let your want / need be released into a Universe of possibility, so that the Universe can bring it to you the way it can.
Altogether, I enjoyed reading this book and got something from it. When I go to sleep, I say to myself “Happy, Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.” This is what I’ve been doing before reading Kristin’s book, and has put me into a grateful and positive frame of mind when retiring for the night.
Copyright notice: this article may not be used as someone else’s work, or reproduced without credit to the author.