Wikis > Compassion Definitions > Self-Compassion

Self-compassion has been recently defined by Kristin Neff (2003) as having three interrelated components that are exhibited during times of pain and failure. Each component has two parts, the presence of one construct and the negation of another. These three concepts are: (a) being kind and understanding toward oneself rather than being self-critical, (b) seeing one’s fallibility as part of the larger human condition and experience rather than as isolating, and (c) holding one’s painful thoughts and feelings in mindful awareness rather than avoiding them or overidentifying with them” (Barnard & Curry, 2011).

  • Barnard, L., & Curry, J. (2011). Self-Compassion: Conceptualizations, correlates & interventions. Review of General Psychology, 15 (4), 289-303.


Self-compassion has been defined as a self-attitude that involves treating oneself with warmth and understanding in difficult times and recognizing that making mistakes is part of being human (Neff, 2003).” (Breines& Chen, 2012).

  • Breines, J. G., & Chen, S. (2012). Self-Compassion Increases Self-Improvement Motivation. Society for Personality and Social Psychology, 38 (9), 1133-1143.


Self-compassion is an emotionally positive self-attitude that should protect against the negative consequences of self-judgment, isolation, and rumination (such as depression).” (Neff 2003).

  • Neff, K. (2003). Self-Compassion: An Alternative Conceptualization of a Healthy Attitude Toward Oneself. Self and Identity, 2, 85-101.


Self-compassion involves being kind to oneself when confronting personal inadequacies or situational difficulties, framing the imperfection of life in terms of common humanity, and being mindful of negative emotions so that one neither suppresses nor ruminates on them.” (Neff &Beretvas, 2012).

  • Neff, K., &Beretvas, S. (2012, April). The Role of Self-Compassion in Romantic Relationships. Self and Identity.


Self-compassion Traditionally, compassion has been understood in terms of concern for the suffering of others (Goetz,Keltner, & Simon-Thomas, 2010). With self-compassion, however, one is emotionally supportive toward both the self and others when hardship or human imperfection is confronted.” (Yarnell& Neff, 2012).

  • Yarnell, L. M., & Neff, K. D. (2012). Self-Compassion, Interpersonal Conflict Resolutions, and Well-being. Self and Identity.

Self-compassionate persons, accepting both suffering and loss, allow themselves to non-judgmentally engage in self-appraisals rooted in warmth and kindness.” (Shapira&Mongrain 2010).

  • Shapira, L., &Mongrain M. (2010). The benefits of self-compassion and optimism exercises for individuals vulnerable to depression. The Journal of Positive Psychology 5(5), 377–389


Self-Compassion is being kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings, honoring and accepting your humanness: comprised of self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness. Self- compassion is valuing one’s own pursuit of happiness and aversion towards suffering, and behaving in accordance with those values; transforming negative thought habits, attitudes, emotional biases

Self-Compassion is NOT: ‘self-indulgence’, ‘feeling sorry for the self’ or ‘self pity’ or ‘ruminating on personal entitlement, i.e. what the self lacks or deserves’. Self compassion is sort of a paradox as it is not really about focusing on the self, but about considering oneself as one of the sentient beings among all others towards which it is worthy to dedicate one’s own energy to the avoidance of suffering and promotion of happiness. (source: )