Self Compassion Self Esteem and Well Being

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A review of Kristin D. Neff’s article Self-Compassion, Self-Esteem, and Well-Being A review: Self-Compassion, Self-Esteem, and Well-Being Reading the article initially I did not expect to agree with Neff’s ideas on self compassion as compared to self- esteem and the benefits of advocating one form of self construct over the over. However, the article builds evidence around the argument providing a compelling and logical agreement for the author’s initial idea. The idea of promoting a high self-esteem to counter negative feelings towards oneself does have some drawbacks in the form of pressuring people towards intense competition and continuous validation of their skills or talents to feel adequate. As self esteem rates have risen so have narcissist feelings among college students. indicating that the construct can harm as well as benefit your personality. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to be ‘better’, the reality of life is that it is not always possible all the time for everyone. When this pre-requisite for high self esteem is not available, all the positive aspects of the construct are diminished. This is something I have perceived myself as well, that people who are the most ambitious and think highly of themselves are often the ones unable to cope readily with small failures. Self-compassion on the other hand is a construct that allows a person to accept themselves with all their failures, flaws and ‘averageness’. Self-kindness versus self-judgment, feelings of common humanity versus isolation, and mindfulness versus over-identification (Neff, 2011) as components of self-compassion focuses less on the individual and more on the individual’s life in a society and community with all its realities. I feel this approach allows more room for accepting and coping with the negative events that come up in everyone’s life. Self-compassion can be a great tool for maintaining balanced personal lives which are free from excessive competition and let all participants accept each other as a whole person without any judgments or criticism. The component of mindfulness specially makes you consider present circumstances instead of ruminating about past or considering the future, allowing you at once to be able to cope with your own sufferings and be aware of the challenges others may be facing. Interestingly, research also shows a high correlation between self-compassion and self-esteem indicating that people who are kinder towards themselves are also more capable of appreciating their good traits, talents etc. Self compassion can be really helpful for a maligned group in the society. People who suffer from emotional or mental disorders such as depression or anxiety often feel like they have less control over their actions and life as a whole. This could be a reaction from their illness or due to the societal pressures and biases they face but in either case it is hard to be able to have a high self-esteem when you cannot reach up to the competitive and performance expectations required to gain it. Others may also treat them with sympathy instead of acceptance due to their problems. ‘Self-compassion’ as a construct can allow both the groups the chance to accept and be positive about the impact of these disorders without being too critical or self-evaluating. Unlike self esteem, self compassion does not consider only the ‘good’ in the person but presents a reaction to the whole of oneself and thus makes it easier to be kinder to yourself and to others. ReferencesNeff, K.D., (2011). Self-Compassion, Self-Esteem, and Well-Being. Social and Personality Psychology Compass. 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd