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About the book

“Buck up.” “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.” “Don’t ruin everything.” When you are anxious, sad, angry, or lonely, do you hear this self-critical voice? What would happen if, instead of fighting difficult emotions, we accepted them? Over his decades of experience as a therapist and mindfulness meditation practitioner, Dr. Christopher Germer has learned a paradoxical lesson: We all want to avoid pain, but letting it in–and responding compassionately to our own imperfections, without judgment or self-blame–are essential steps on the path to healing. This wise and eloquent book illuminates the power of self-compassion and offers creative, scientifically grounded strategies for putting it into action. You’ll master practical techniques for living more fully in the present moment — especially when hard-to-bear emotions arise — and for being kind to yourself when you need it the most. 

Buy book: Amazon

Year published: 2009


Quotes from the book

The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion (Christopher K. Germer, Sharon Salzberg)

  • Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.
    self-compassion—taking care of ourselves just as we’d treat someone we love dearly
  • The suffering itself is not so bad; it’s the resentment against suffering that is the real pain. —ALLEN GINSBERG, poet
  • Self-compassion has the gleam of the particulars, as poet Naomi Shahib Nye might say. The details of our lives are necessary to contact the deeper meaning of our daily experience.
  • Self-compassion isn’t a thing that we either have or don’t have. Instead, as a practitioner and as a therapist, I try to remain open to emotional pain and breathe kindness into it, one moment after the next. MEASURING
  • In the words of meditation teacher Pema Chödrön: … we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is … not to try to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. It
  • I look at it this way: the instinctive response to danger—the stress response—consists of fight, flight, or freeze. These three strategies help us survive physically, but when they’re applied to our mental and emotional functioning, we get into trouble. When there’s no enemy to defend against, we turn on ourselves. Fight becomes self-criticism, flight becomes self-isolation, and freeze becomes self-absorption, getting locked into our own thoughts.
  • One mental habit that can wreak havoc in our lives is self-judgment. If you watch your mind for 10 minutes after something goes wrong, you’ll probably notice that you’re criticizing yourself. It’s undoubtedly useful to know what went wrong and to correct our mistakes, but usually we go way beyond that. What can we do about self-judgment? It doesn’t work to just stop judging yourself because you’re likely to judge yourself for judging yourself. (Remember, what we resist persists.) The best solution is simply to witness judgments, letting them come and go.
    Some people wonder how taking antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication fits in with self-compassion practice. It’s simple: ask yourself what’s the most compassionate thing to do. Denying ourselves necessary medication can be a form of self-punishment or a way of ignoring our needs out of shame or obsessive concern for a natural body. The reverse is also true: medication can be a subtle form of emotional avoidance. Consider whether medication allows you to function better and pursue healthy behavior changes. If you feel you’re ready to live without medication, please discuss it with your doctor.