097: Self-Compassion and Self-Improvement

Have you ever considered that having compassion for yourself might just be as important as having compassion for someone else?

I’ve said it many times, but we can’t truly love others until we love ourselves.

I loved it when I read that one of the Buddhist’s traditions is that you have to care about yourself before you can really care about other people.

If you are constantly criticizing yourself while trying to be kind to others, you are making artificial boundaries that lead to feelings of separation instead of connection.  This is the opposite of caring for someone, and that includes yourself.

I wanted to continue our conversation about Self-Compassion today and explore whether we can really make improvements in our lives by being kind to ourselves.  Doesn’t that just give us an excuse not to try as hard?

Let’s look into it!

Can you motivate yourself better by beating yourself up all the time?

Think about that.

Pause this podcast and give it a good think.

Do you make more changes and reach more goals when you talk down to yourself, trying to force yourself to do it or by being kind and encouraging and compassionate when you make a mistake?

What have you believed in the past?

I think I thought speaking mean words to myself would actually encourage me to try harder, actually shaming myself into doing better.

I don’t believe that anymore.

Carl Rogers, one of the founders of humanistic psychology said,

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

Why would self-compassion be a more effective motivator than self-criticism?

Dr. Kristen Neff said that “The number one reason people give for why they aren’t more compassionate to themselves is fear of laziness and self-indulgence.”

Think of what the driving forces is behind each one.

Self-criticism is driven by fear but Self-Compassion is driven by love.

Love helps us to feel confident.

Fear makes us feel insecure.

Most people assume that the warm, feel-good feelings from being self-compassionate is a way to coddle ourselves, and nothing more.

Self-criticism asks, “Are you good enough?”

Self-compassion asks, “What’s good for you?”

Self-compassion involves valuing yourself and making choices that lead to long term well-being.

When you have compassion for yourself, it gives powerful motivation to change as well as knowing what you need to change in the first place.

Those who are judgmental of themselves are more likely to blame others for things that go wrong.  I mean, it makes sense, doesn’t it?  If you have to face all that horrible criticism from yourself, wouldn’t you be more likely to try to avoid blame?

If you accept what has happened and give yourself compassion…wouldn’t you be more likely to admit when you have made a mistake?  Then, from that place of love, you can motivate yourself to try to do better next time.

This is a great thing to try in your journal.

Think about a previous event in your life when you felt failure, rejection or loss that made you feel bad about yourself.

Write about this in your journal.

Write about the event, what happened before the event, who was there, and exactly what happened.

Write about how you felt and reacted at the time.


Think of others who you know who have had a similar experience.

Write a paragraph to them, sharing feelings of kindness and concern and understanding for what happened to them.

When you’ve completed both paragraphs, write one more.

Write how you feel about what happened to you from the lens that you wrote in the second paragraph.

How can this change the way you see your event?

Does it let you off the hook?

Or does it just soften the blow of self-judgement?

It doesn’t take away responsibility for the event, but it does provide the safety to be able to acknowledge it and make changes where needed.

I hope you’ll take the time to honestly try this activity in your journal.

I’ve made you a PDF to follow with the questions to ask yourself.  Go to hunkeedori.com/Ep97 and download it for an easy way to remember the questions.

Try to view the common humanity you have with others and use it to help you make self-improvements in a kinder, more compassionate way.

It’s life-changing my friends!

If you felt that this episode inspired you at all to make some simple changes in your life and to be more compassionate with yourself and others, please share it with a friend.  You can make this a part of the shared human experience you are beginning to make a part of your life.  You can learn about self-compassion together and support each other.

Thanks for joining me here today and remember:

I see you.  I understand how hard you’re trying, and I’d like to help however I can.

Have a wonderful day and I’ll see you back here next week.

Acceptance Leads to Self-Compassion Journaling Prompt:  www.hunkeedori.com/Ep97

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097: Self-Compassion and Self-Improvement