Public Health & Health Sciences

The Courage of Self Compassion

If feeling compassion toward someone else may seem like an easy and even natural thing to do, why is it so hard to feel compassion for ourselves? In this installment of The Science of Compassion, Kelly McGonigal delves into this important question. The first reason, Kelly explains, is the confusion over what it even means to be self compassionate. Too often, people feel that caring for themselves is self-centered, self-indulgent, self-pity, or just plain selfish. This is explainable, for example, in that so many of our heroes and inspirational figures are people who sacrificed themselves for others. But as Kelly illustrates, the idea that self-care is self-indulgent reflects a misunderstanding of the nature of self compassion. Throughout this course, Kelly addresses an essential difficulty of self compassion: how do you achieve a sense of connection to the person who is suffering, when you are the one who is suffering?

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