Straight from the source, Dr Kristen Neff, 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?
In contrast to self-esteem, self-compassion is not based on self-evaluations.
Research has investigated the relationship between self-compassion, health behaviors, and reactions to illness. In 4 studies in 2013, self-compassion was related to health-related cognitions and affect for healthy and unhealthy participants, and it predicted participants’ reactions to actual illnesses beyond the influence of illness severity and other predictors of health behaviors. Self-compassionate people also indicated they would seek medical attention sooner when experiencing symptoms than people lower in self-compassion. Self-compassion was also related to health-promoting behaviors even after accounting for self-regulatory capabilities and illness cognitions.
Can we use EFT (tapping) to increase our own self-compassion levels? Absolutely!! Brad Yates has a great 5 minute YouTube clip you can tap along to.
You’ll find some other guided meditations and questionnaires to measure your own level of self-compassion here.