I remain amazed at how much pressure parents put on their children to perform and excel – and it seems to be getting worse and worse. How do those children grow up feeling good about themselves if they do not meet their parents’ high expectations? How do they learn to have self-compassion if they are getting no compassion from their parents when they do not meet these expectations? How do they feel good about themselves without the need to compare themselves to others and the need to be better than others?
Self-compassion enables us to feel good about ourselves without having to compare ourselves to others and meet our own high expectations.
Self-compassion is a willingness to look at our own mistakes and shortcomings with kindness and understanding. When we are self-compassionate in the face of difficulty, we neither judge ourselves harshly, nor feel the need to defensively focus on all our awesome qualities to protect our ego. We can be self-compassionate while still accepting responsibility for our performance and we can be self-compassionate while striving for the most challenging goals.
Dr Kristen Neff writes about how we can learn to feel good about ourselves not because we’re special and above average, but because we’re human beings intrinsically worthy of respect.
If we develop self-compassion we will also develop compassion for other people – helping to make our world a kinder place to live in.