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Treat Yourself With Kindness for Success

Treat Yourself With Kindness for Success

A growing body of research, including new studies by Berkeley’s Juliana Breines and Serena Chen, suggests that treating yourself with kindness and having self-compassion, rather than building self-esteem, may be the key to being successful in life. Self-compassion leads to higher levels of personal well-being, optimism and happiness, and to less anxiety and depression.

Self-compassion is being willing to look at your own mistakes and shortcomings with kindness and understanding.  Then you accept that to be human is to make mistakes sometimes. 

When you have problems and you are self-compassionate, you neither judge yourself harshly, nor feel the need to defend yourself loudly by talking about how good you are.  You don't need to shout loud to protect your ego.

People who experience self-compassion are more likely to see their weaknesses as something they can work on.  Self-compassion increases your motivation to improve so that you can avoid making the same mistake again in the future.This new approach to confident learning can improve your performance at work.

Why is self-compassion so powerful? In large part, because it is non-evaluative – in other words, your ego is more or less out of the picture.  You can confront your flaws and foibles head on.  That means you can have a realistic sense of your abilities and your actions, and figure out what needs to be done differently next time. You are more ready to take risks.

When your focus is on protecting your self-esteem, you can’t afford to look at yourself with complete honesty. It might be too painful. You can’t acknowledge the need for improvement, because it means acknowledging weaknesses and shortcomings – threats to self-esteem that create feelings of anxiety and depression. 

If you would like support from a coach in developing your self compassion, please get in touch.

Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  You can contact Wendy at and find out more at

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