Stop, Breathe & Think | 5:50
Dr. Kristin Neff defines self compassion as the "offering ourselves the same kindness and care we would extend to a friend". Self-forgiveness is defined in a seminal paper on the topic as "a willingness to abandon self-resentment in the face of one's acknowledged objective wrong, while fostering compassion, generosity, and love towards oneself."
Study after study shows that our favorite thought patterns are self-referential - and self critical. We are drawn to ruminate on our shortcomings, the mistakes we’ve made, the guilt we feel, the regrets we have, and the shame of our anger, envy, lust or greed.
We are mercilessly critical of our failings and perceived faults - but rarely introspective or self-aware enough to fully examine the wound, take responsibility where appropriate, make amends where possible, acknowledge the lesson, let go and move on. Mindfulness is an opportunity to do just that.
Self-compassion and forgiveness can be rooted in an understanding of common humanity - in the knowledge that all human beings are fallible, and that wrong choices and feelings of regret are inevitable.
Knowing this, and knowing we’re not alone, can help put our distress in perspective. Mindfulness applied to self compassion becomes a powerful tool for mental and emotional resilience.