Above: Gyrfalcon. Stock photo.
Hundreds of self-help books have been written about improving self-esteem. We're told that it's essential for children to be raised to have it, and that it's what helps adults maintain good mental and emotional health. While there's no denying that self-esteem is important, self-compassion may be even more valuable. This fascinating article details the results of a new study out of Berkeley. Self-compassion, much more than self-esteem, can be what really helps us.
From the article:
"A growing body of research, including new studies by Berkeley's Juliana Breines and Serena Chen, suggest that self-compassion, rather than self-esteem, may be the key to unlocking your true potential for greatness... Self-compassion is a willingness to look at your own mistakes and shortcomings with kindness and understanding -- it's embracing the fact that to err is indeed human. When you are self-compassionate in the face of difficulty, you neither judge yourself harshly, nor feel the need to defensively focus on all your awesome qualities to protect your ego. It's not surprising that self-compassion leads, as many studies show, to higher levels of personal well-being, optimism and happiness, and to less anxiety and depression..."
Self-esteem is important, but, it would seem, self-compassion may lead to an improved overall outlook more quickly, resulting in better health, both physical and mental. After reading this, I've decided to make a real daily practice out of practicing compassion for myself. This, along with compassion for others, creates what the Dalai Lama has taught for decades: "Holistic Compassion."