Self-Image: Self-esteem Vs Self-Compassion
This TEDx talk by Dr Kristen Neff is perhaps the best talk on the complex area of self-esteem that I have come across. I believe that self-compassion is the next big evolution in psychological interventions.
So often a lack of self-compassion sits behind problems people have with overeating as they use food to fill a void that, not surprisingly, cannot be filled with food.
Kristen Neff breaks self-compassion down to three components:
- Self kindness – we often say worst things to ourselves than we would say to people we dislike!
- Common humanity – where self-esteem asks ‘How am I better than others?’, self-compassion asks ‘How am I the same as others?’ Imperfection is the ultimate, perfectly normal shared human experience.
- Mindfulness – being aware of the moment when we become self-critical so we can shift into a more self-compassionate mode.
Finally, she speaks on how we think being critical is a way to motivate others, as well as ourselves. In reality it increases the likelihood of not even trying, of giving up, as we want to avoid the pain of being criticised again. This is the ‘Failure Fear’ that I wrote about in Weight Loss for Food Lovers.