The Healing Power of Self-Compassion – For Us and Those Around Us.
by Carolyn Dallman Downes
I have never understood the whole self-esteem movement, I guess because it never caught on in Canada, where we tend to be more communal than competitive.
However, I have found benefit in the practice of self-compassion. This is the practice of being able to honestly face one’s shortcomings and process the shame we might feel about falling short of our goals. Sometimes, this involves admitting it to another person (hopefully someone trustworthy), who can help us get a sense of proportion about the magnitude of our “offences”. Finally, we come to a place where we are able to forgive ourselves, and have compassion towards our frail and fallible human-ness. I believe this is what may be meant by achieving as state of “grace” (the same root as the word, “gratitude”).
Perhaps the most important aspect of this exercise, however, is that the practice of self-compassion helps us recognize others’ struggle and be more compassionate towards those who are also contending with their own imperfections. It is not a surprise, therefore, that compassion (not self-esteem) play such an important role in most spiritual traditions.
The article below, by Olga Khazan, explains, “Why Self-Compassion Works Better than Self-Esteem”.