Self-compassion, self-esteem, and well-being

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Abstract

This article focuses on the construct of self-compassion and how it differs from self-esteem. First, it discusses the fact that while self-esteem is related to psychological well-being, the pursuit of high self-esteem can be problematic. Next it presents another way to feel good about oneself: self-compassion. Self-compassion entails treating oneself with kindness, recognizing one's shared humanity, and being mindful when considering negative aspects of oneself. Finally, this article suggests that self-compassion may offer similar mental health benefits as self-esteem, but with fewer downsides. Research is presented which shows that self-compassion provides greater emotional resilience and stability than self-esteem, but involves less self-evaluation, ego-defensiveness, and self-enhancement than self-esteem. Whereas self-esteem entails evaluating oneself positively and often involves the need to be special and above average, self-compassion does not entail self-evaluation or comparisons with others. Rather, it is a kind, connected, and clear-sighted way of relating to ourselves even in instances of failure, perceived inadequacy, and imperfection. © 2011 The Author. Social and Personality Psychology Compass © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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APA

Neff, K. D. (2011). Self-compassion, self-esteem, and well-being. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 5(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-9004.2010.00330.x

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