Customer Reviews: Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
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on June 1, 2011
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.

I'm from Brazil and I'm a bit sad that we don't have a portuguese version of this book yet, because I could buy at least one copy to every person that I like or love (truly, I would give also to the people that I could have any reason to don't like). If I was a rich guy I would give one of this to every psychologist on the world so that this practices could be used on their pacients alike.

Kristin, thank you for coming with this for the world! Thank you very much! Spread the talk about it as much as you can.

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on August 26, 2011
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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Leading psychologist Kristin Neff's groundbreaking book, "Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind" shows us how to let go of debilitating self-criticism and learn to be kind to ourselves. Using personal stories, empirical research and practical exercises she explains how to heal destructive emotional patterns to become healthier, happier, and more effective.
Our ultracompetitive culture, the relentless pursuit of high self-esteem and the need to be above average to feel good about ourselves makes our sense of self-worth rise and fall in lockstep with our latest success or failure. She says many experts now see self-compassion as a more powerful and effective alternative to self-esteem. Their research shows 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 highly stable and kick in precisely when self-esteem falls down.
Current research shows there are holes in over emphasizing high self-esteem as an indicator of healthy behavior. Neff says high self-esteem is a consequence rather than a cause of healthy behavior. Narcissists and sociopaths generally have extremely high self-esteem (inflated, unrealistic perceptions of themselves) and tend to blame others for negative consequences. Jean Twenge's book, "Generation Me, the Narcissism Epidemic Living in the Age of Entitlement" speaks eloquently about the problem.
Neff says thoughts and emotions have an effect on our bodies: self-compassion triggers oxcytocin the hormone of "love and bonding" and "tend and befriend" whereas self-criticism elicits an increase in blood pressure, adrenalin and the hormone cortisol.
Self-compassion stops self-judgment and actively comforts us just as we would a dear friend. Warm tender feelings towards ourselves (self-compassion) makes us feel safe, calm, content, trusting and stops us from operating from a place of fear.
She says self-kindness, recognition of our common humanity and mindfulness form the basis of self-compassion. Mindfulness is noticing our pain without exaggeration, interpretation and over identification. Self-compassion enables us to face emotions head-on and allows positive emotions to replace the negative ones.
Self-compassion asks us to accept and acknowledge our pain, remember suffering is a part of life, be kind and compassionate with ourselves and learn from our mistakes.
Neff warns that self-compassion is not a magical cure to resist or eliminate pain; it's a way to shift the focus from "cure" to "care."
Self-compassion enables us to define our worth not as a label, judgment, or evaluation. It relates to the mystery of who we are - a dynamic work in progress. It honors our strengths and weaknesses, does not define us by our success or failure, does not depend on an outcome, being special or above average. The emphasis is on the value of experience and on the journey not the destination.
Self-criticism asks, "Am I good enough?" Self-compassion asks, "What's good for me?" It taps into your inner reserve to be healthy and happy.
When tense, upset, sad or self-critical Neff recommends giving ourselves a warm hug and using sympathetic language with ourselves. Pain is unavoidable, suffering is optional.
Her book powerfully demonstrates the importance of self-compassion and the need to give ourselves the same caring support we'd give to a good friend.
This book has the power to change lives.
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on May 20, 2014
I really wanted to like this book-- Dr. Neff is researcher, her work is endorsed by Brene Brown, and the topic is an important one. Unfortunately, I found most of the book to be trite. Dr. Neff doesn't distinguish between beating yourself up for things that are not your fault (such as not being as beautiful as a supermodel) vs. feeling guilty because you did something wrong (such as have an extramarital affair). The exercises that she suggests are trite and obvious (for example, she suggests giving yourself a hug while murmuring comforting words). The book also veers into the bizarre, where Dr. Neff talks about how she used compassion to heal the "hurt little girl" inside her while having sex, during which she "got clear mental images of women passing through my body and being released." Even more bizarre is Dr. Neff's description of her and her husband's being beaten with a rawhide thong by a shaman while participating in a healing ritual for their autistic son. (The son was not beaten, just Dr. Neff and her husband were). I really can't recommend this book. A much more useful book for dealing with negative self talk is The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris.
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on April 26, 2011
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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on May 16, 2011
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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on June 8, 2011
This book is surprisingly well written and informative. The author seems to really know what she writes about. The book contains a lot of real life examples from the author's personal life and lives of her friends. It's based on the Buddhistic perspective of mindfulness and compassion but also has a lot of modern research and experiments, which I've found very useful and convincing. It's is also surprisingly profound in terms of dissecting the inner roles the ego plays--our inner critic and victim--and becoming the soothing observer. I've found the information easy for digestion and highly applicable for my own life situation. The book delivers much more than the one might think while first checking it out. And that's why I've already recommended it to others and do it now as well.
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on July 14, 2011
As a therapist, I have been recommending this book to several patients and have already seen extraordinary results. This book is enjoyable to read, containing interesting and compelling stories of personal experience from the author, along with research, and specific techniques on generating compassion for oneself.

I would recommend this book highly for all seeking a more positive, compassionate, and less judgemental experience of living this life.
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on April 28, 2011
I just finished reading this book and I wanted to express my deepest gratitude to the author. The book presents a compelling argument for self-compassion and I strongly believe anybody who is going through hardship will find this book very helpful in navigating toward healing.
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on July 27, 2011
I came to the path of self compassion after suffering from over 20 years of eating disorders and perfectionism. At first, I was hesitant and skeptical. But over time, I found self compassion to be a valuable practice in fostering my recovery and in finding more peace in everyday life.

If you're new to self compassion, this book does an excellent job of introducing you to the concept as well as summarizing the latest research. It also offers guided exercises, practical how tos, stories and examples (the most touching were the ones from the author's own life.) It was a pleasure to read.

Even if self compassion isn't new to you, reading this book is an affirmation of why this path is so important.

Reading Kristin's book is like receiving a warm hug - a dose of compassion! - as it gently, wisely, and passionately reminds us that it is hard to be a human being; we're all in this together; and we feel much more powerful and hopeful when we offer ourselves kindness.

I highly recommend it.
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