In Episode 14, we continue exploring how to be kind to yourself. Self-compassion is a skill as much as it is an inner resource.  Learn to befriend yourself by taking self-compassion breaks. This practice helps foster Emotion Regulation.

For some people, the idea of self-compassion or self-kindness is like trying to squeeze into shoes that don’t fit, or a pair of jeans, for that matter.  You really want to wear them, but it just isn’t working for you.

Or self-kindness can be  more of a hit or miss.

So let’s stretch ourselves a bit.

What is Self-Compassion?

Kristin Neff,  PhD,  a self-compassion research pioneer, operationalizes self-compassion in a particular way.  She describes 3 components of self-compassion.  

  • One, Mindfulness or being in the present moment without judging what you are going through, and having a balanced view of positive and negative experiences. 
  • Two, Common humanity, which means knowing that you are not alone in how you are feeling or in the experience of human suffering. This, of course, can be challenging when you feel like you are the only one in the world with a particular experience.
  • Three, Self-kindness. This being kind to yourself when you might be beating yourself up in your mind.  That means talking to yourself like you would to someone you love.

You can practice these three elements by yourself with “a self-compassion break.”   In the episode I share Simon’s story.  I hope you listen.

Today’s Skill: Self-Kindness Statements

Similar to the loving-kindness meditations described in earlier episodes, you can create messages of kindness to meditate on and repeat, which calms your body and nurtures goodwill toward yourself. The instructions for creating these personal affirmations are simple:

  1. Be clear
  2. Be authentic and true to your experience
  3. Use a kind tone

Whenever you need bolstering, you can craft a message by asking yourself, “What do I need to feel calm in my body?” like Simon learned to do. 

Or you can craft a message by asking  yourself “What do I need to feel cared for?” 

The answers are typically universal human needs: belonging, connection, encouragement, love, patience, protection, or respect, tolerance, validation, and well-being. 

When you land on the right phrase, in response you’ll sense a twinge of relief, a spark of inspiration, or gratitude: “Ah, this fits for me,” “Oh, this feels right,” or “Thank you.” 

 You can also try one of these on for size and refine it as you go, and switch “I” for “you” depending on how you like to hear your inner voice. Here are some examples:

  • I love myself just as I am. 
  • I will be okay.
  • I trust in myself.
  • I hold myself gently.
  • You’ve got this.
  • I am here for you.
  • You’re strong.
  • I am beginning to feel love and kindness expand.
  • Even though this is hard, I will be kind to myself. 

You get the idea. If Simon could do it, so can you.

The meditation teacher Pema Chödrön, said:

Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves. 

Chödrön also noted that,

Compassion isn’t some kind of self-improvement project or ideal that we’re trying to live up to.

Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves, all those imperfections that we don’t even want to look at.” 


Learn about Kristin Neff, PhD, and research on self-compassion at

Learn about Pema Chödrön at The Pema Chödrön Foundation.