Self Esteem v Self Compassion

Wanting to better than average at *everything* leads us on a path to nowhere, a logical impossibility that creates misery when the inevitable failure happens. Self-esteem is much bandied term, a term that means confidence and self-respect but unfortunately is not sustainable as it’s contingent on success and being better-than. As we know, it’s not possible to be better-than ALL THE TIME yet for some reason our culture tells us we have to pursue the illusive and step on others along the way. And then when the much fought-for success deserts us, our self-esteem follows suit, which means it is always an outside job that is not sustainable. Self-compassion is different. Meaning self-kindness in action, self-compassion is about finding and living our life’s purpose as well as accepting that we’re going to make mistakes. This is what it means to be human, it is our common humanity as Kristin Neff writes. As it’s so often our perceived failings/shortcomings that hold us back, learning to be our best ally during the good and bad not only bolsters our resilience but fosters a sense of intrinsic worth and connection to ourselves and others. Self-compassion is a well that never runs dry, the more we practice, the more we replenish our inner resources.

Why self-compassion? Research is showing that negative self-talk is a poor way to promote long-lasting change and wellbeing - much like how the critical coach always falls short to the encouraging yet firm one who knows how to get the best out of their students. It’s the same with how we speak to ourselves, yet the idea that we must be endlessly self-critical to be at our best is a cultural idea that doesn’t stand up to closer inspection.

The benefits are numerous and far reaching. Research and my own experience have found that positive effects include:

It increases motivation.

It boosts happiness.

It improves body image.

It enhances self-worth.

It fosters resilience.

It reduces mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, and stress.

The effects of self-compassion are essential to our intrinsic sense of wellbeing and joy.

On January 4th 2020, I’ll be leading a one day retreat with health coach Anna Whyte on Self-Compassion for Change where we’ll delve into how you can be your best ally for long-term heartfelt change. Featuring two yoga classes and workshops, a wellbeing coaching session including discovering your values and determining your intentions for 2020, as well as a health coaching session with Anna, this day is topped off with a nurturing lunch. It has everything a New Year workshop could ask for, mind, body, spirit!

For more information, feel free to get in touch at

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