Why Self-Compasion Isn’t New Aged Hippie Nonsense


Self-Compassion: What’s The Big Deal?


If your mind jumps to “compassion is for ‘sissies’!” or “self-compassion sounds like a bunch of new aged hippie nonsense!” then this article may well be the most important thing you read today.

What is Compassion?

Firstly, Compassion is not empathy (understanding another’s feelings) and it’s not sympathy (feeling ‘sorry for…’). Compassion is the feeling we get when we witness another persons suffering and we feel motivated to step in and help. Whereas sympathy is passive, Compassion is active because it means feeling and then doing something about this feeling.

What is Self-Compassion?

Self-compassion means giving yourself permission to extend the same kindness you’d show someone else in times of suffering to yourself.

Is Self-Compassion a ‘Weakness’?

One of the biggest myths about self-compassion is that it’s a ‘weakness’ or just feeling sorry for yourself. On the contrary, self-compassion is the antidote to shame, self-pity, and sulking because it makes us more willing to accept, experience, and acknowledge difficult feelings with kindness, which paradoxically helps us to process and let go of difficult feelings more fully.

Self Compassion Facts

• Self-compassion is one of the most powerful sources of coping and resilience available to us.
• Self-compassion is more beneficial to our psychological well-being than self-esteem because it’s associated with greater emotional resilience, more accurate self-concepts, more caring relationship behavior, and less narcissism and reactive anger.
• Self-Compassion is the antidote to our “inner-critic”- the self-critical or self-sabotaging attitudes, reactions, and punitive feelings that can hijack our peace of mind and lead to destructive behaviors.

Barriers to Self-Compassion

The most common barrier to developing self-compassion is our own “inner critic”, which often has origins in our developmental histories (e.g. traumas or parental rejection, hostility, neglect and unresponsiveness). If you find it easier to be self-critical than kind to yourself, this is often a sign that the skill of self-compassion (which can be learned) is missing.

If being kind to yourself is something you struggle with, consider seeking help from a clinical psychologist. It might take some work, but learning self-compassion can help you live a richer and more joyful life – it’s worth it.

Andreas is a Clinical Psychologist with over 10 years of clinical experience. He works with adolescents, HSC and university students, adults, couples, and families with a wide range of cognitive, emotional, behavioural, and physical difficulties, and draws from a range of effective, evidenced-based treatments including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), Schema Therapy, and Mindfulness to empower his clients and help them to live more meaningful lives.


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