The leading international expert on self-compassion, University of Texas at Austin educational psychologist Kristin Neff, has released a new book on how to reduce insecurity, anxiety and self-criticism and be kinder to yourself.
“Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind” (William Morrow, 2011) is written with the layperson in mind and includes anecdotes, personal examples and chapter-by-chapter exercises. According to Neff, practicing self-compassion involves treating oneself with as much compassion as one would treat a good friend, using self-compassion to motivate self and others, and accepting one’s imperfections and acting with compassion toward oneself.
Women’s power icon Gloria Steinem said about Neff’s book: “A portable friend to all readers — especially but not only women — who need to learn that the Golden Rule works only if it’s reversible: We must learn to treat ourselves as well as we wish to treat others.”
Neff, an associate professor in the College of Education‘s Department of Educational Psychology, has spent more than a decade studying the relatively new concept of self-compassion, lectures internationally and leads workshops on the topic. She published the first journal article in which self-compassion was identified and detailed and is the creator of the internationally implemented Self-Compassion Scale.
“I’ve recently begun a controlled scientific study to determine whether teaching self-compassion – and its three major elements of self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness – actually leads to lower stress, depression and anxiety and increased happiness and life satisfaction,” said Neff.
Neff also has been featured in the book and film “The Horse Boy,” which chronicle her family’s experience with a son who has autism and emphasize the healing and restorative power of self-compassion when dealing with difficult life challenges.
Learn more about Neff’s research and find suggested readings and meditations.