In Kristin Neff’s (Ph.D.) self-help book, “Self-Compassion“, she does a great job of explaining the benefits of a healthy level of self-compassion and self-appreciation. She is heavy on the Buddhist philosophy, recognizing that the human experience involves pain and we are all imperfect. Although she says self-esteem and self-compassion go well together, I appreciate how she makes comparisons and explains the differences between the two. She refers to loads of research, including her own, combined with her own personal stories and anecdotes to drive the messages home in a simple-to-understand way.
I appreciate her easy-to-read and personal style of writing. As a social worker, I can see applying these concepts to not only work I do with others, but also to myself. Her exercises provide practical and easy ways to explore self-compassion in a non-threatening way. The “self-compassion mantra” is especially helpful. “Taking care of the caregiver” exercise gives the caregiver many ideas of ways to meet his/her own needs and enhance quality of life (ex. get a massage, take a walk in nature, go dancing). Many other exercises provide tools and examples of how to explore the subject in a personal way.
Overall, this book makes me think about self-compassion, self-care and how we are not really “taught” how to take care of ourselves. It leaves me with more questions and has ignited my interest and curiosity in the subject.
Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW
Author/Specialist in Aging