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Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself Hardcover

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Frequently Bought Together

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself + The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are + I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Making the Journey from "What Will People Think?" to "I Am Enough"
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (April 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061733512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061733512
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Neff’s compassionate tone makes Buddhist principles accessible, and exercises make them applicable in real life.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A portable friend to all readers—especially but not only women—who need to learn that the Golden Rule works only if it’s reversible: We must learn to treat ourselves as well as we wish to treat others.” (Gloria Steinem)

“A beautiful book that helps us all see the way to cure the world, one person at a time, starting with yourself. Read it and start the journey.” (Rosie O’Donnell, talk show host)

“An original and doable blueprint for improving the quality of your life.” (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow and Creativity)

“Neff’s powerful research and her ability to explain how self-compassion affects our everyday lives makes this book a transformative read.” (Brené Brown, Ph.D., author of The Gifts of Imperfection)

“In this deeply personal, highly practical book, Kristin Neff moves the entire study of compassion forward.” (Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness)

“This is an important book. Following its advice can free readers from the chains of self-criticism and replace them with the wings of self-encouragement.” (Steven Stosny, Ph.D., author of Love Without Hurt)

“Drawing on a powerful blend of Western psychology and Eastern meditative strategies, Kristin Neff offers practical, wise guidance on the path of emotional healing and deep inner transformation.” (Tara Brach, Ph.D., author of Radical Acceptance)

“This book and its courageous and compassionate author will become essential reading for all of us seeking inner peace and true, lasting happiness in our lives. Savor and enjoy!” (Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., author of Mindsight)

“Brilliant! Self-compassion is a revolutionary new idea-a better idea-pioneered by the author, Kristin Neff, with profound implications for how to live our lives.” (Christopher K. Germer, Ph.D., author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion)

“Based on state-of-the-art research, Neff provides essential lessons for how to excel personally and professionally through self-compassion.” (Dr. Todd B. Kashdan, author of Curious? and Designing Positive Psychology)

From the Back Cover

From leading psychologist Dr. Kristin Neff comes a step-by-step guide explaining how to be more self-compassionate and achieve your dreams in life

The relentless pursuit of high self-esteem has become a virtual religion—and a tyrannical one at that. Our ultracompetitive culture tells us we need to be constantly above average to feel good about ourselves, but there is always someone more attractive, successful, or intelligent than we are. And even when we do manage to grab hold of high self-esteem for a brief moment, we can't seem to keep it. Our sense of self-worth goes up and down like a Ping-Pong ball, rising and falling in lockstep with our latest success or failure.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to self-esteem that many experts believe is a better and more effective path to happiness: self-compassion. The research of Dr. Kristin Neff and other leading psychologists indicates that people who are compassionate toward their failings and imperfections experience greater well-being than those who repeatedly judge themselves. The feelings of security and self-worth provided by self-compassion are also highly stable, kicking in precisely when self-esteem falls down. This book powerfully demonstrates why it's so important to be self-compassionate and give yourself the same caring support you'd give to a good friend.

This groundbreaking work will show you how to let go of debilitating self-criticism and finally learn to be kind to yourself. Using solid empirical research, personal stories, practical exercises, and humor, Dr. Neff—the world's foremost expert on self-compassion—explains how to heal destructive emotional patterns so that you can be healthier, happier, and more effective. Engaging, highly readable, and eminently accessible, this book has the power to change your life.

More About the Author


Kristin got her Ph.D. in 1997 at UC Berkeley, studying moral development. She is currently an Associate Professor in Human Development at the University of Texas at Austin.

During Kristin's last year of graduate school she became interested in Buddhism, and has been practicing meditation in the Insight tradition ever since. While doing her post-doctoral work she decided to conduct research on self-compassion - a central construct in Buddhist psychology and one that had not yet been examined empirically. In addition to her pioneering research into self-compassion, she has developed an 8-week program to teach self-compassion skills. The program, co-created with her colleague Chris Germer, is called Mindful Self-Compassion.

Kristin lives in Elgin, Texas with her husband Rupert Isaacson - an author and human rights activist - and with her young son Rowan. She and her family were recently featured in the documentary and book called The Horse Boy -

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 114 customer reviews
Really opened my eyes and helped me begin to treat myself like a person I love.
Paige A Rutledge
In Self-Compassion, Dr. Neff provides us with a detailed, practical guide to having compassion for ourselves and for appreciating ourselves.
Amazon Customer
It has helpful practices for the reader and the book itself is an easy and enjoyable read.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

162 of 165 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 1, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I usually doubt when someone says that a book, or a concept, is life-changing.

Trust me: THIS ONE IS. At least if you find yourself stuck in some struggle in your life that you feel is possible to be solved but you don't know how. If you feel fear of the consequences of doing something in your life you'll also find here what may be the origin and to heal this fear. This book is about being stronger, emotionally stronger, in a way that I didn't see any other author talk about. The subject of this book, I think, is the root for all the other strenghts we can have as human beings. I think that, without this, we can't be sucessful getting to the other strengths.

I've been lost in a depression for the last 6 years and I had read lots of books from the top authors on psychology, self-motivation, personal efectiveness and on and on. All I found was some strength to keep searching, but nothing EVER touched so exactly on what could be the reason and the cure for the bad emotions I had for all these years.

I'm sure that , for me , this book is one more piece of the puzzle I've been working on since my depression came into my life. But I can assert that it's the most meaningful piece so far. No doubt. Sometimes while reading I found myself avoiding the book because the transformation was being too intense in my point of view, but I noticed my pattern and kept on reading. It really was worth!

I could keep writing here for hours about how now I can see a path, a light, that I couldn't see before on some of the most difficults aspects of my life. Past and present aspects.

I strongly recommend this book to you, to anyone.
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80 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Steve Daily on April 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I felt this book is excellent. It combines research information on the clinical use of self-compassion with personal stories of its success in helping people that the author had known and worked with, as well as examples of its successful use in her personal life. Although the whole book has a warm, readable style, the author's personal stories in particular are written with a heartfelt honesty and vulnerability which I greatly admired (and also illustrated the power of self-compassion very well). The book does a great job of balancing useful background information with techniques that anyone can use to incorporate self-compassion into his or her own life. It would serve as a fantastic introduction and primer to the subject of self-compassion (which I agree is an incredibly powerful approach for self-healing and growth) as well as a valuable resource of additional information for those already familiar with the concept from other sources.
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By D. McGregor on August 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is, in a word, awesome. I'm a young woman who's been having very difficult issues as a result of insecurities, rock bottom self-esteem, and perfectionism since around age 9 (that I can remember) and this is one of the most helpful things I've found on my journey to healing. Instead of recommending an endless barrage of positive self-talk to candy coat our problems, Kristin Neff really digs down to reveal the definition of self-compassion and it's components: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.

Her writing style is very down to earth and she speaks from experience. With the exercises scattered throughout the book she allows you to take a good, honest look at yourself without judgement so you can understand your issues and their roots in a compassionate and loving way, recognizing that we are all products of millions of factors that are out of our control, that we are all imperfect and thus human. Her own stories show that she herself has experienced lack of self-compassion and that her research is not just some dissertation concerning others, but is a real path to self-discovery for her and in turn, for the reader. Perhaps because she is a woman drawing from her own experiences, this book seems especially tailored to the issues faced by women in our day and age, though the exercises and methods are universally applicable.

If you often think you're not good enough, if you judge others or yourself harshly, if you deal with persistent fear or shame, or if you have some issues that just won't go away, give this book a shot. It just might change your life.
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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Teri Story on May 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is definitely one of the best "self-help" and inspirational books of the dozens I've read over the years.

The author has spent years reseaching the subject of self-compassion and has the academic background and credentials to validate her work. At the same time, the book is very readable, entertaining and often humorous. Her personal experiences and those of acquaintances referred to in the book help make it lively and contribute to its interest.

Self-compassion is such an important concept and so useful in helping achieve inner peace and contentment in life. What a shame our society has overlooked this idea until recently.

Hopefully, many, many people will read this book and benefit from its insights into the human condition and the many helpful suggestions for improving the quality and happiness in their lives.
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