Self-compassion (quotes)


Compassion is to feel sympathy and concern for the suffering of yourself or others


Self-compassion is to …


Self-compassion is to recognise when you suffer and to care for yourself

  • Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop to tell yourself “this is really difficult right now,” how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment? Kristin Neff
  • Self-compassion: Being kind and understanding toward oneself in instances of pain or failure rather than being harshly self- critical; perceiving one’s experiences as part of the larger human experience rather than seeing them as isolating; and holding painful thoughts and feelings in mindful awareness rather than over-identifying with them.  Kristin Neff
  • SufferingSelf-forgivenessSelf-acceptance

Self-compassion is to be kind to yourself

  • The more you extend kindness to yourself, the more it will become your automatic response to others. Wayne Dyer
  • Treat yourself and others with kindness when you eat, exercise, play, work, love, and everything else. When you think, feel, and act kindly, you hasten your ability to connect to the power of intention. Wayne Dyer
  • Kindness

… especially when confronted with personal failings

  • Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect? You may try to change in ways that allow you to be more healthy and happy, but this is done because you care about yourself, not because you are worthless or unacceptable as you are. Kristin Neff
  • Failure

Self-compassion is to accept your humanness

  • Perhaps most importantly, having compassion for yourself means that you honor and accept your humanness. Things will not always go the way you want them to. You will encounter frustrations, losses will occur, you will make mistakes, bump up against your limitations, fall short of your ideals. This is the human condition, a reality shared by all of us. The more you open your heart to this reality instead of constantly fighting against it, the more you will be able to feel compassion for yourself and all your fellow humans in the experience of life. Kristin Neff
  • When I tried this morning, after an hour or so of unhappy thinking, to dip back into my meditation, I took a new idea with me: compassion. I asked my heart if it could please infuse my soul with a more generous perspective on my mind’s workings. Instead of thinking that I was a failure, could I perhaps accept that I am only a human being– and a normal one, at that? Elizabeth Gilbert

Self-compassion is to be gentle with yourself, especially when confronted with pain

  • Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism. Self-compassionate people recognize that being imperfect, failing, and experiencing life difficulties is inevitable, so they tend to be gentle with themselves when confronted with painful experiences rather than getting angry when life falls short of set ideals. People cannot always be or get exactly what they want. When this reality is denied or fought against suffering increases in the form of stress, frustration and self-criticism.  When this reality is accepted with sympathy and kindness, greater emotional equanimity is experienced. Kristin Neff
  • Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. Max Ehrmann
  • Be gentle with yourself, learn to love yourself, to forgive yourself, for only as we have the right attitude toward ourselves can we have the right attitude toward others. Wilfred Peterson
  • Be gentle first with yourself if you wish to be gentle with others. Lama Yeshe
  • Pain

Self-compassion is to treat yourself as a friend

  • Self-compassion means treating ourselves as we would a friend. Rather than berating, judging, or adding to a friend’s despair, we listen with empathy and understanding, encourage them to remember that mistakes are normal, and validate their emotions without adding fuel to the fire. Emma M. Seppala, Ph.D.

Compassion that does not include yourself is incomplete

  • Compassionate action involves working with ourselves as much as working with others. Pema Chodron
  • Have respect for yourself, and patience and compassion. With these, you can handle anything. Jack Kornfield
  • If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. Jack Kornfield

The rewards of self-compassion


Self-compassion strengthens your compassion for others

  • Compassion for yourself translates into compassion for others. Suki Jay Munsell
  • When the Dalai Lama was then asked to clarify whether indeed the object of compassion may be the self, he responded: ‘Yourself first, and then in a more advanced way the aspiration will embrace others. In a way, high levels of compassion are nothing but an advanced state of that self- interest. That’s why it is hard for people who have a strong sense of self- hatred to have genuine compassion toward others. There is no anchor, no basis to start from. Tal Ben- Shahar
  • It is lack of love for ourselves that inhibits our compassion toward others. If we make friends with ourselves, then there is no obstacle to opening our hearts and minds to others.
  • Once we are aware of compassion for ourselves, it is only a very short step to begin to feel compassion for others. Anne Wilson Schaef
  • Compassion for others comes naturally as you recognize your own limitations. Stephen C. Paul
  • So how do we learn to be compassionate? The people who are best at being compassionate toward others have learned to be compassionate with themselves, first.  Someone who talks lovingly to himself or herself excels in speaking loving words to others, and the opposite is true.  If you verbally beat yourself up as a habit, you will tend to be negative toward other people, too.  Lucinda Bassett
  • If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others. You will not be able to love others. If you have no compassion for yourself then you are not able of developing compassion for others. The Dalai Lama
  • Compassion

Self-compassion reduces stress and increases resilience

  • Studies have shown that self-compassion has many benefits, including reducing self-criticism, lowering stress hormones like cortisol, increasing self-soothing, self-encouragement, and other aspects of resilience and helping to heal any shortages of caring from others in your childhood. Rick Hanson
  • StressResilience

Self-compassion brings healing

  • Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion. Buddha
  • If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. Jack Kornfield
  • Healing

Self-compassion helps you love, accept and forgive yourself

  • Building a strong foundation of self-love, forgiveness, compassion…. and connecting with your soul Essence infuses confidence, courage, inner strength… to be true to who you are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Lorraine Cohen
  • Self-compassion. This quality of awareness cultivates love for yourself as you are, without self- blame or criticism. Bob Stahl
  • When you spend time growing spiritually, loving yourself becomes automatic. You become more peaceful, connected, kind, loving and compassionate. You nurture a mind that grows more beautiful by the day. You naturally love yourself in the process. Evelyn Lim
  • Love melts all blockages. Whether directed inward in the form of self-compassion, or outward in the form of forgiveness or understanding, love conquers all. Dawn Gluskin
  • LoveAcceptanceSelf-forgiveness

Self-compassion helps you let go of guilt and move on

  • Guilt can be defined as self-critical feelings and attitudes that are experienced in relation to our actions, as well as in relation to our thoughts and feelings we see as unacceptable. However, even in situations where you know you are in the wrong, it serves no purpose to attack yourself for the negative effects of your behavior. It is much more constructive to identify the critical inner voices that intensify your guilty feelings, feel compassion for yourself and the other person, and plan ways to change your behavior in future interactions. Robert W. Firestone
  • Guilt

Self-compassion helps you quieten your inner critic and judge

  • Each one of us has a three-year-old child within us, and we often spend most of our time yelling at that kid in ourselves. Then we wonder why our lives don’t work. Be kind to yourself. Begin to love and approve of yourself. That’s what the little child needs in order to express itself as its highest potential. Louise L. Hay
  • The most dangerous of our prejudices reign in ourselves against ourselves. To dissolve them is a creative act. Hugo von Hofsmannsthal
  • Translate all self-judgments into self-empathy.  Marshall B. Rosenberg
  • We all have the tendency to believe self-doubt and self-criticism, but listening to this voice never gets us closer to our goals. Instead, try on the point of view of a mentor or good friend who believes in you, wants the best for you, and will encourage you when you feel discouraged. Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.
  • It is time to stop telling yourself negative things that you wouldn’t dream of saying to a friend, but that you habitually say to yourself. Amanda Harvey
  • There are an inner critic and an inner protector inside each of us. For most people, that inner critic is continually yammering away, looking for something, anything, to find fault with. It magnifies small failings into big ones, punishes you over and over for things long past, ignores the larger context, and doesn’t credit you for your efforts to make amends. That’s why you need your inner protector to stick up for you: to put your weaknesses and misdeeds in perspective, to highlight your many good qualities surrounding your lapses, to encourage you to return to the high road even if you’ve gone down the low one, and—frankly—to tell that inner critic to Hush Up Now. Rick Hanson
  • CriticismLet go of the need to judge

Self-compassion helps guide and change your life

  • A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life. Christopher K. Germer
  • When you are compassionate with yourself, you trust in your soul, which you let guide your life. Your soul knows the geography of your destiny better than you do. John O Donohue

Self-compassion can help you change far more effectively than trying to shame yourself into action

  • People are often very hard on themselves when they notice something they want to change because they think they can shame themselves into action – the self-flagellation approach. However, this approach often backfires if you can’t face difficult truths about yourself because you are so afraid of hating yourself if you do.  Thus, weaknesses may remain unacknowledged in an unconscious attempt to avoid self-censure. In contrast, the care intrinsic to compassion provides a powerful motivating force for growth and change, while also providing the safety needed to see the self clearly without fear of self-condemnation. Dr. Kristin Neff

Self-compassion gives you the energy and motivation to help others

  • Is it selfish to have compassion for yourself? On an airplane, you are asked to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, so that you can help other people. Self-compassion is like that too. If you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t be fully equipped to help others. Randy Taran
  • Making a differenceService

Self-compassion is empowering

  • Where self-criticism leaves us powerless and distraught, self-compassion is at the root of empowerment, learning, and inner strength. With self-compassion, we value yourself not because we’ve judged ourselves positively and others negatively but because we are intrinsically deserving of care and concern just like everyone else. Emma M. Seppala, Ph.D.

Self-compassion leads to increased productivity

  • When you are motivated by self-compassion, you understand failure not as a painful indicator of defeat but as a learning opportunity from which growth can follow. Whereas self-criticism leads to painful and self-defeating emotions in the face of failure, Self-Compassion therefore embraces challenge. People with higher self-compassion are therefore more likely to improve their performance after failure! Moreover, by preventing the defeating effects of self-criticism, self-compassion allows us to maintain peace of mind and thereby retain our energy. By remaining calm and understanding in the face of rejection, failure or criticism, we develop level-headedness, strength and emotional stability which allow us to have higher well-being and to be more productive and successful. Emma M. Seppala, Ph.D.
  • Productivity

Compassionate self-awareness leads to change while self-criticism only holds patterns in place

  • Compassionate self-awareness leads to change; harsh self- criticism only holds the pattern in place, creating a stubborn and defensive Basic Self. Be gentle with yourself as you would with a child. Be gentle but firm. Give yourself the space to grow. But remember that the timing is in god’s hands, not yours. Dan Millman
  • Loving the self, to me, begins with never criticizing ourselves for anything. Criticism locks us into the very pattern we are trying to change. Understanding and being gentle with ourselves helps us to move out of it. Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens. Louise L. Hay
  • Self-awarenessChange

In your spiritual path, compassion towards the ego is a far more effective way to heal and transcend it than to condemn and fight it

  • The way to heal the small self is to reject taking a polarized, right/wrong position, which makes it our enemy, and instead view life with loving compassion and see the intrinsic innocence of the child. We first see the innocence of the child’s consciousness and then the programming that is superimposed. It is because of the child’s lovingness and trustingness that is so programmable, and we begin to see the innocence even within those who seem most hateful.  Out of compassion to see into the hearts of things, one finds the intrinsic innocence within the ego that then gets healed through that compassion and love.  We can love our humanness and that of others, and instead of condemning it, we now say, ” I see the seeming validity of that at the time.”  For example, instead of being ashamed of anger and hatred, we say to ourselves, “Well, being angry was inevitable at that time,” because a person who has never hated will not move up to Love since they have never cared that much about life.  If one does not care enough about life to have gotten angry and actually hatred, then they would be down at the level of Apathy. David R. Hawkins
  • Transcending the ego

Be compassionate with yourself when …


Be compassionate with yourself when you make mistakes, especially when starting new endeavours

  • When we can compassionately see that we fumble, we make mistakes, or that we are (if only faintly and occasionally!) aware of a goodness within us that we do not always know how to express, we start to be aware of feelings of compassion for ourselves. Once we are aware of compassion for ourselves, it is only a very short step to begin to feel compassion for others. Anne Wilson Schaef
  • Replace demands for perfect work with acceptance of (not resignation to) your human limits. Accept so- called mistakes (really feedback) as part of a natural learning process. You need self-  compassion rather than self- criticism to support your courageous efforts at facing the unavoidable risks of doing real, imperfect work rather than dreaming of the perfect, completed project. You’ll want to be especially gentle with yourself as you recognize that, as a novice, you must go through awkward first steps before you achieve the assurance of a master. As you learn to expect and accept imperfect early steps on your projects, you’ll build in the persistence of a producer, and you’ll be better prepared to bounce back because you’ll have a safety net of compassion. Neil Fiore
  • Mistakes

Be compassionate with yourself when trying to break old patterns

  • As you learn to consciously observe the transformation process, you will watch yourself repeating a lot of old patterns long after you seemingly know better. Spiritually and intellectually, you realize there is another way, but emotionally you are still clinging to the old habits.  This is a difficult time. Try to be patient and compassionate with yourself.  When you recognize the futility of an old pattern so clearly, it’s about to change!  A short time later, you will suddenly begin to respond differently, in a more positive way. Shakti Gawain

Be compassionate with yourself when you lapse

  • I rededicate and re-devote myself again and again after the inevitable lapses and periods of dullness and inactivity. Before any real growth and stability appears I will lose faith, get discouraged, doubt, feel sorry for myself, and wonder if anything will happen. Does this mean I have lost my path? No, not at all – this IS the path. I learn to swim, not just with the current, but against the tide as well. This is not a journey for the timid or frail. I have an infinite amount of compassion for myself. I pick myself up again and again. Everything is as it should be. John Kehoe

Be compassionate with yourself when things don’t go according to plan

  • Your development towards wisdom is a process of experimentation, trial and error, so it’s inevitable things will not always go to plan or turn out how you’d want. Compassion is the remedy for harsh judgement – of ourselves and others. Forgiveness is not only divine – it’s also ‘the act of erasing an emotional debt’. Behaving ethically, with integrity, and with humour – especially the ability to laugh at yourself and your own mishaps – are central to the perspective that ‘mistakes’ are simply lessons we must learn. Cherie Carter-Scott

Adopt an attitude of compassionate curiosity to yourself to build your self-awareness …

  • Compassionate curiosity is the attitude most of us, depressed or not, need to apply to ourselves as well. Curiosity suggests a little cool detachment from the emotional heat, a desire to understand objectively why we feel what we feel, why we do what we do—especially when it’s troublesome or self-defeating.  Why did I get angry just then? What’s making me so blue today?   We look at ourselves, not to torture ourselves, not to give ammunition to the Critic, not with desperation for a quick fix, but with compassion, sincere interest, and the belief that there are answers that make sense.  Richard O’Connor
  • Self-awareness

… for this is at the heart of effective mindfulness

  • Mindfulness also means deliberately learning to use your mind in a new way. It’s learning to watch your mind at work, looking at yourself with compassionate curiosity.  Compassion, like a close friend, suffers with us a little but also sees the patterns that we’re normally too close to see. Curiosity shows us that there’s really nothing to be afraid of in our own heads, but a lot we could learn.   Richard O’Connor
  • Mindfulness

Self-compassion is not self-pity


Self-compassion sees itself in connection with others while self-pity sees only itself

  • When individuals feel self-pity, they become immersed in their own problems and forget that others have similar problems. They ignore their interconnections with others, and instead feel that they are the only ones in the world who are suffering. Self-pity tends to emphasize egocentric feelings of separation from others and exaggerate the extent of personal suffering. Self-compassion, on the other hand, allows one to see the related experiences of self and other without these feelings of isolation and disconnection. Kristin Neff

Self-compassion has broad view while self-pity cannot see beyond its nose

  • Also, self-pitying individuals often become carried away with and wrapped up in their own emotional drama. They cannot step back from their situation and adopt a more balanced or objective perspective. In contrast, by taking the perspective of a compassionate other towards oneself, “mental space” is provided to recognize the broader human context of one’s experience and to put things in greater perspective. Kristin Neff

Practices for boosting self-compassion


Write yourself a letter

  • Take the perspective of a compassionate friend, so you can imagine that you are this other person. What would a compassionate and kind friend say to me right now? What would their words be? Later, come back and read the letter and receive it from yourself. Emma M. Seppala, Ph.D.

Write down your self-talk

  • If you are self-criticizing because your jeans don’t fit or you said the wrong thing in a situation, write down the self-critical words that come to mind and then ask if would you ever say these words to a friend? What would a friend say? Emma M. Seppala, Ph.D.
  • Self-talk

Develop a self-compassion mantra

  • Neff suggests developing something that is easily memorized so that when something difficult happens, you can go to your phrases. They are not positive affirmations but reminders. Here is the self-compassion she developed for herself “This is a moment of suffering, suffering is part of life, may I be kind to myself in this moment may I give myself the compassion that I need.” Emma M. Seppala, Ph.D.


  • Meditation is a process by which, through contemplation and relaxation, we can begin to loosen the grip of self-critical thoughts and emotions. There are many forms of meditation practice from mantra meditations, to breathing practices, mindfulness to yoga or nature walks. Find a practice that works for you and allows you to create space and quiet in your mind. Emma M. Seppala, Ph.D.
  • Meditation