cover image Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind

Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind

Kristin Neff. Morrow, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-173351-2

Through her encounters with eastern spirituality, Neff, an associate professor in human development at the University of Texas%E2%80%93Austin, began to understand that having compassion for oneself is as important as having compassion for others: "From the Buddhist point of view, you have to care about yourself before you can really care about other people." As Neff defines it, self-compassion has three core components: self-kindness, realizing one's common humanity, and mindfulness. Self-kindness means being gentle and understanding, rather than harshly critical of our own errors. The recognition of common humanity involves feeling connected to others rather than alienated by our suffering. Mindfulness requires "that we hold our experience in balanced awareness, rather than ignoring our pain or exaggerating it." While exploring these three components in depth, Neff weaves in events that inform her own life, such as the "precipice of despair" she felt while struggling emotionally with her son's autism. By sharing such personal anecdotes, Neff helps readers understand how self-compassion can aid them. Neff's compassionate tone makes Buddhist principles accessible, and exercises make them applicable in real life. (May)