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Compassion is the virtue by which we feel and show kindness, empathy, and affection to others. But as they say, “unless our compassion includes ourselves, it is incomplete.”
Self-compassion is the ability to express love and devotion to ourselves as we do to others. It is the capacity to reflect positivity ‘inward.’
Dr. Kristin Neff, one of the most prominent researchers and authors in this field, said that “unlike self-criticism which asks if you’re good enough, self-compassion asks what’s good for you?”
Think about this. When we see someone close to us in trouble or undergoing a stressful life event, our immediate impulse would be to extend support and show concern to him/her. Perhaps we wouldn’t think twice before helping the person in any way we can. But what happens when we are in trouble and enduring distress? Do we talk to ourselves with the same understanding and empathy?
Being self-compassionate means showing love and kindness to the self as we do to others. Extending compassion to ourselves is not a sign of selfishness; neither does it stand for egocentric personality. It signifies our character strength and neutrality. Mental health research has put forth strong evidence about how self-compassion can relieve pain and free us from atrocities such as anxiety, depression, self-harm, and emotional insecurities.
This article is an in-depth exploration about self-compassion with close association to Dr. Kristin Neff’s work on the subject. As mentioned earlier, Dr. Neff is a pioneer figure in the area of self-compassion. Her research findings and self-compassion exercises are some of the most popular resources we have for this matter. In the following segments, we will delve into her definition and understanding of how self-compassion works and why we should make it a part of our daily living.
This article contains:
- Who Is Dr. Kristin Neff?
- Dr. Neff’s Definition of Self-Compassion
- A Look at her Work and Research on Self-Compassion
- The Self-Compassion Test
- The Self-Compassion Scales
- Why Does Self-Compassion Beat Self-Confidence?
- The Self-Compassion Break
- The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
- Self-Compassion Meditations by Dr. Neff
- 4 Self-Compassion Exercises by Kristin Neff
- About the Self-Compassion.org Website
- 8 Recommended YouTube and Ted Talks
- Dr. Neff’s Books on Self-Compassion (Incl. Amazon Links)
- 15 Quotes
- A Take-Home Message
Who Is Dr. Kristin Neff?
Let us begin the discussion with this short introductory video by Dr. Neff
Dr. Kristin Neff is an American researcher and one of the world’s leading professionals on self-compassion. After studying communications at the undergraduate level in California, Neff studied moral development and completed her post-doctoral program from Denver University.
She was awarded a Ph.D. in 1997 at the University of California. Dr. Neff studied child moral development during her dissertation years that she spent in Mysore, India. She later studied and practiced Buddhism and Insight meditation, all of which was aptly incorporated in her books and publications on self-compassion.
Her interest in self-compassion cropped up while she was studying Buddhist psychology at Texas. Dr. Neff started working at the University of Texas in 1999 and secured the position of Associate Professor in 2006.
Besides her groundbreaking investigations on self-compassion, Dr. Kristin Neff has also created a comprehensive eight-week training program on how to practice self-compassion daily. Dr. Chris Germer, her colleague, assisted Neff in creating this manual, called the Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) which is effectively used for a wide variety of personal and professional reasons. Dr. Neff is also a published author of her book Self-Compassion, which was released in April 2011.
Dr. Neff’s Definition of Self-Compassion
Kristin Neff said:
When we give ourselves compassion, we are opening our hearts in a way that can transform our lives.
Her definition of self-compassion has three key components:
Self-compassion calls for care and concern towards one’s self, especially during times of suffering and pain. Rather than ignoring our well-being or being harsh on ourselves, self-compassion entails self-acceptance with a positive spirit.
The second aspect of Neff’s definition is humanity – or the perception that adversities are inevitable parts of mundane life, and we should offer help to anyone undergoing stress, including ourselves.
Arguably the most vital component of the definition, mindfulness infuses concentration, and heightened attention to every passing moment of life. Self-compassionate people are more aware of themselves and their surroundings. They are non-judgmental and observant, which contribute to their openness and empathetic viewpoint of the world and themselves.
Before Neff’s findings, self-compassion was linked to Carl Rogers’ concept of unconditional positive regard, which denotes wholeheartedly accepting and being there for someone regardless of what situation he is currently in.
Researchers also found Neff’s ideas about self-compassion to be similar to what Judith Jordan conceptualized as ‘internal empathizer’ or self-empathy, acceptance, love, and affection towards ourselves.
The first milestone of self-compassion is to feel and acknowledge the pain within (Getz, Keltner, and Simon-Thomas, 2010). Neff ruled out the difference between self-compassion and self-pity clearly in her definition.
According to her findings, self-pity is a mental condition where we feel sorry for ourselves, and this is not to be confused with self-compassion. Self-compassion provides internal strength. It is more about empowering the self and developing the competence to combat stress effectively.
In close association with the Buddhist viewpoint, Neff said that compassion is the power to soothe others when life goes downhill. But unless we include ourselves in the circle of compassion, we cannot alleviate pain from others’ lives (Salzburg, 1997).
A Look at her Work and Research on Self-Compassion
Our sorrows and wounds are only healed when we touch them with compassion.
Buddhist principles and teachings moved Kristin Neff. During her study and practice on Buddhism and meditation, she internalized many of their tenets on self-love and self-compassion, some of which formed part of her practice later.
Self-Compassion and Mindfulness
Self-compassion starts with self-awareness. One of the primary reasons behind the popularity of Neff’s work is the strong association of self-compassion and mindful living. Mindfulness practices are gaining popularity exponentially, and having an adjunct of self-compassion is an excellent add-on to it.
Her studies asserted that before we begin to treat ourselves with compassion, we must recognize our pains and accept their presence and impact on us. And before acknowledging and accepting our sufferings, we must be aware of where we are, what we do, and how we feel. Dr. Neff devised many practices and self-help exercises for promoting mindfulness in self-compassion, and vice-versa. Her research indicates that self-compassion and mindfulness complement each other.
Self-compassion reduces anxiety and depression (MacBeth and Gumley, 2012). Studies show that lack of criticism in self-compassionate people is the key factor behind their mental peace (Blatt, 1995). They find it easy to befriend themselves and therefore, are less prone to mood disorders or anxiety conditions.
Self-compassion and mindfulness are independent tools, yet they can be compelling when combined. In a survey-based investigation on potential job seekers, Dr. Neff and her colleagues found that self-compassionate people used fewer self-demeaning or underconfident statements in the mock-up interviews.
Further studies showed that self-compassionate people showed fewer anxiety symptoms and were more emotionally regulated than participants who were less kind to themselves (Neff, 2003).
Yin and Yang Self-Compassion for Women
Being an activist and humanist, Dr. Kristin Neff extended her research on self-compassion in women across different cultures all over the world. Previous studies indicated that many women who pity themselves or are unkind to themselves experienced more emotional turmoils than others.
Neff ideated that women need ‘fierce compassion.’ And to promote self-compassion in women, she structured a mindful-based self-compassion strategy, called the Yin and Yang compassion for women.
Compassion in women, as Neff saw it, operates on a continuum, denoted by the persuasion of yin and yang. At one end of the continuum lies the tenderness and comfort that a woman provides to her family and herself. This is ‘yin’ compassion. At the other end of the continuum, or the yang compassion, lies a woman’s ferocious avatar when she wants to protect herself, her children, or her family against possible dangers and harassments.
Neff identified that the strict gender roles that often prevent women from expressing their fierce selves, or the ‘yang’ compassion, have a significant contribution to their lack of self-compassion. Through yin yang self-compassion, Neff urged women to embrace and reveal both the aspects of compassion and free themselves from the barriers of self-loathing and self-pity.
The Yin-Yang model of self-compassion became very popular and a part of many self-development programs for women. In a nutshell, it helped women in:
- Staying connected to the present.
- Transforming pain to passion and fearlessly expressing the same.
- Manifesting self-love and kindness unapologetically.
- Embracing vulnerabilities and freeing oneself from society-imposed gender roles.
- To be unconditional, loving, empathetic, self-regulated, and merciful to self and society.
Physiology of Self-Compassion
Kristin Neff provided an all-encompassing account on self-compassion. There is no single aspect of research that her work missed. Her propositions on the physiology of self-compassion are noteworthy to mention here.
Self-compassion reduces levels of cortisol, a neurotransmitter responsible for producing fight-or-flight responses. When we experience physical or emotional threats, the amygdala in the brain is the first site to locate it. Amygdala sends signals to the rest of the parts of the body and signals the sympathetic nervous system to produce the fight-or-flight response. As a result, we feel the adrenaline rush, a sudden boost of energy, and heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
Practicing self-compassion reduces our chance of being affected by sudden emotional attacks. For example, in a study on the physiological correlates of self-compassion, Helen Rockliff, a popular psychobiologist based in Bristol, found that when participants were guided to feel compassion, they showed fewer cortisol actions in the brain.
Furthermore, studies found that contact comfort or the effect of warm physical touch as a gesture of kindness significantly reduced cardiac dysfunctions and released oxytocin – the ‘happy hormone.’
Experiencing and expressing self-compassion instruct our brain to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the fight-or-flight response and reduce stress triggers. And the result of this brain activation chain that follows self-compassion is a soothed and pacified self, which is capable of loving and caring for itself.
The Self-Compassion Test
Dr. Neff devised some exceedingly useful objective scales catering to the different aspects of self-compassion. The Self-Compassion test is a short and standardized self-assessment that is linked to favorable mental health conditions and heightened intrinsic motivation.
The test has been used and reused for a vast set of personal and professional areas. The results are reliable and valid over an enormous range of population and positively correlated to high self-esteem and life satisfaction.
The assessment comprises of 26 statements related to the self and responses are scored on a 5-point Likert Scale. The scoring follows a detailed interpretation of the results and indicates the level of self-compassion participants have at a given moment.
The Self-Compassion Scales
The Self-Compassion Scale (SCS) comes in two forms – one full scale having all 26 items, and one smaller sub-scale, including 12 statements. The SCS is appropriate for individuals of 14 years and above, and the two scales show a significant positive correlation to each other.
Both the scales are scored on a 5-point Likert Scale, where ‘one’ signifies ‘Almost Never,’ and ‘five’ signifies ‘Almost Always.’ The questions evaluate aspects of self-kindness, self-judgment, humanity, isolation, mindfulness, and over-identified items.
Examples of statements included in Neff’s compassion scales are:
- I am disapproving and judgmental about my flaws and inadequacies.
- When I am feeling down, I tend to obsess and fixate on everything that’s wrong.
- When things are going badly for me, I see the difficulties as a part of life that everyone goes through.
- When I fail at something important to me, I become consumed by feelings of inadequacy.
- I try to be understanding and patient towards those aspects of my personality that I don’t like.
- When something painful happens, I try to take a balanced view of the situation.
- When I am feeling down, I tend to feel like most other people are probably happier than I am.
- I try to see my failures as a part of the human condition.
- When I am going through a very hard time, I give myself the caring and tenderness I need.
- When something upsets me, I try to keep my emotions in balance.
Why Does Self-Compassion Beat Self-Confidence?
According to Dr. Neff, “admitting our flaws like anyone else keep us connected to ourselves and others.” Self-compassion allows our human side to come to the forefront. With similar effects like that of self-esteem, compassion leads to the unconditional acceptance of failures and flaws, both in ourselves and others.
Many research pieces indicate that being self-compassionate before being self-confident is the key to a happy life. Self-confidence sometimes comes together with delusional thoughts and overrated self-beliefs, which may make it difficult for us to accept under-achievements and personal shortcomings.
Self-compassion, on the other hand, keeps us grounded and prevent us from the downside of negative beliefs. A self-compassionate person is kind to himself, irrespective of whether he succeeds or fails in a particular task. Temporary stress and burnout keep his zeal unaltered and increase the likelihood of visible self-improvement (Neff, 2011).
Failure can produce self-doubt and negative automatic thoughts in the most confident person, thereby breaking his self-esteem. But with self-compassion, we can easily overcome this internal damage. While it is vital for a successful human being to have both confidence and compassion in himself, the latter is a prerequisite for confronting personal inadequacies and striving for the best in ourselves.
|1. Unconditional love, affection, and kindness towards the self.||1. Strong positive beliefs and about the self.|
|2. Brings the feeling of equality and the belief of us ‘being the same’ as others.||2. May come with exaggerated feelings about the self, accompanied by thoughts of ‘I am better than them.’|
|3. Helps us accept failures and move on from there.||3. Often makes it hard to accept failures and rejections and ultimately results in poor self-esteem.|
|4. Lets us derive care and nurture from within.||4. Distress may cause seeking for care and comfort outside to rebuild the confidence.|
The Self-Compassion Break
Self-Compassion Break is a mindfulness-based compassion exercise Dr. Neff ideated and encouraged all to practice. Fundamentally, compassion break is a time-out from the shackles of reality-bound distress and calls for allowing some moments to acknowledge our pain.
The method is simple, and we can do it at any time of the day, and as many times as we do. Here is a short script of this exercise:
|Select a place with minimum distractions where you can practice the compassion break. It is a short practice and won’t take more than ten minutes of your daily routine.
Take a few deep breaths and relax.
Next, think of a person, situation, or event that is causing you stress right now.
Explore your thoughts around it and try to gauge how bad the person or the situation is making you feel.
Now take a deep breath and say to yourself, ‘This is stress.’ Let yourself acknowledge your pain at this stage.
In the next step, try to recognize your pain and understand that you are not the only one facing it. Repeat to yourself statements such as ‘I am not alone in this,’ ‘Suffering is a part of human existence,’ ‘Everyone has to struggle at some point in their lives,’ etc..
Finally, put your hand in your heart and feel the warmth of your skin, touching the body. Allow yourself to explore all the love and kindness you have within you and whisper positive self-statements such as ‘I can make peace with myself,’ ‘I can overcome this,’ ‘May I be patient and strong,’ etc..
Open your eyes and release yourself with a long deep breath.
The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
We can’t let our self-worth go up and down with every success and failure in life. The present society that strangely imposes that we have to be ‘above average’ to enjoy a good life, often jeopardizes our self-esteem and leave us feeling vulnerable and distressed.
Be that parents, students, teachers, or any other professionals, the relentless chase for high self-esteem and greater success can make us critical and self-judgmental. And this is why Neff believes it is vital to discard emotional insecurities and ‘stop beating ourselves’ in an attempt to outdo others. Dr. Kristin Neff and many other psychologists sharing a similar opinion mentioned that people who are considerate towards their failures are way more self-satisfied than people who judge themselves.
Neff’s groundbreaking work in books like ‘Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind’, and ‘Self Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself’ is all about such gems of advice.
Her musings emphasize on the proven advantages of turning away from self-doubt and interacting gently with ourselves. Her research strongly points at the fact that to feel good about ourselves, the only thing we need is to ‘be’ good to ourselves.
With plenty of personal examples, practical experiences, and research-oriented findings, Dr. Kristin Neff’s books on self-compassion are highly engaging and resourceful. From overcoming self-criticism to learning what affirmations to use, she has demonstrated all aspects of self-compassion in such a way that has left no room for questioning about the benefits of cultivating self-compassion as a part of our personality.
Self-Compassion Meditations by Dr. Neff
1. Self-Compassion Breathing Meditation
Self-compassion breathing meditation, also known as affectionate breathing, is a relaxing practice that follows a smooth flow. It is flexible and suitable for beginners. During this meditation, our sole focus should be on our breathing pattern. With eyes closed, we try to notice the body movements that happen while breathing – how the chest and the abdomen rise and fall with each breath in and, and how the deep rhythmic breathing pattern makes us feel relaxed and calm from the inside.
2. Compassionate Body Scan
As the name suggests, the compassionate body scan is about focusing on each part of our physical existence while meditating. Starting from head and moving down to our feet, we aim to be mindful of how our body feels, notice any tension in the muscles and take a moment to pause and release the stress. The compassionate body scan meditation acts as a soothing balm and is a great way to nourish ourselves carefully.
3. Loving-Kindness Meditation
You have probably heard of this before. Loving-kindness meditation is one of the most popular self-compassion practices devised by Dr. Neff. The method involves uttering words of praise and appreciation to the self.
Starting the endeavor with a few deep breaths, we intend to show genuine love and affection to ourselves. With eyes closed, we repeat words of praise (eg., I am at peace, I am free, I am beautiful, etc.) and try to internalize their significance. Loving-kindness is a great way to boost our self-esteem and remind ourselves of our strengths.
4. Emotional Compassion Meditation
Finding our compassionate voice is not difficult when we are aware of our innermost emotions and drives. In this meditation, which Dr. Neff also referred to as ‘Noting Emotions,’ we try to soothe ourselves by identifying, labeling, and managing the feelings that affect us the most.
Only by setting aside a few minutes for self-reflection, we can spot the most potent emotion that we are experiencing at present, and delve into what caused it. Besides self-compassion, this exercise also fosters emotional intelligence and mindful awareness.
4 Self-Compassion Exercises by Kristin Neff
1. Self-compassion ‘as a friend’
How would you talk to a close friend who is in trouble?
Befriending ourselves is the first milestone for self-compassion. All we need to do in this exercise is to imagine ourselves as a dear friend before we start counting our worries.
The practice involves five simple steps:
- Step 1 – Think about a time when a close friend or associate was struggling with something terrible and was mournful.
- Step 2 – Recall how you talked to the person and what words you chose to make him feel loved and important.
- Step 3 – Next, remember the times when you were sad and try to recall what you said to yourself. Did you use any harsh words?
- Step 4 – Try to notice the discrepancies between steps 2 and 3 and explore how you can change the ways we talk to yourself.
- Step 5 – Now, consciously try and communicate to yourself with the same compassion and warmth as you did for your friend in distress.
2. Self-Compassion Writing Exercise
There are three levels of practicing this self-compassion writing exercise.
In the first phase, we need to deeply think about the aspects of ourselves that we don’t like. We all have a fair share of incompetencies, insecurities, and reasons to feel ‘not good enough.’ In the initial part of this practice, our task is to think about all the negative aspects of us and write them down on a piece of paper.
The second phase is called ‘modeling.’ Our goal here is to imagine ourselves as an imaginary friend to us. We have to get into the persona of a true friend and wonder how he/she would have reacted to the shortcomings we listed in the stage before. Next, we have to write a letter to ourselves as the imaginary friend and jot down everything that we would want to say to a close friend in distress.
The third part of the exercise will be to read the letter that we wrote to us – we need to go through each detail and try to feel the affection that we just showed to ourselves. Those few kind words of consolation and empathy could relieve stress and boost our mood instantaneously.
3. Self-Compassion and Positive Self-Talk Exercise
Denis Waitley, the popular American motivational speaker, said, “Relentless, repetitive self-talk is what changes our self-image.”
Dr. Neff agreed and ascertained the fact that the way we talk to ourselves plays a crucial role in building self-compassion.
The exercise is simple and involves the following steps:
- Notice the way you talk to yourself during adverse situations.
- Try to trace out the areas where you are self-critical and too harsh on yourself.
- Consciously try to replace your negative self-talk with positive ones. You can either take a mental note of it or construct a thought replacement journal as shown below.
- Be mindful of implementing the positive alternatives the next time you feel bad about yourself.
Thought Replacement Journal:
|Negative Self-Talk||Positive Self-Talk|
|I cannot face my friends/colleagues anymore.||It is okay. They are friends, and they care for me.|
|I am a failure.||I will try harder next time.|
|I deserve to be sad.||I deserve to be happy.|
|I don’t fit in here.||I can pull this off.|
|I look so ugly. Everyone is staring at me.||I am beautiful in my own way.|
4. Self-Compassion Journal
The self-compassion journal is a daily self-help exercise that Dr. Neff and her colleagues believe work magically for boosting self-compassion. As the name suggests, the task is to create a weekly compassion journal where we can scribble all the good things that we want to tell ourselves.
It is a space to write about the things that are bothering us right now and to remind ourselves of how hard we are trying to cope with the negativities. Dr. Neff indicated that a self-compassion journal is most effective when we add all the three dimensions of compassion into it, namely, mindfulness, kindness, and humanity.
About the Self-Compassion.org Website
Self-compassion.org is an all-in-one resource of compassion and kindness. Developed and maintained by Dr. Kristin Neff, this website has all the tidbits on understanding, embodying, and resonating self-compassion. It is enriched with valuable resources, including exercises on self-compassion coined by Dr. Neff.
The site contains information on training, workshops, and practical orientations that she offers for spreading awareness on self-compassion. Whether one is looking for personal development or hunting for corporate seminars on self-compassion and mindfulness programs, this online haven has all pathways open for cultivating compassion.
8 Recommended YouTube and Ted Talks
Take some time to watch these instructive video assets on self-compassion by Dr. Kristin Neff.
1. Ted Talk on ‘The space between self-esteem and self-compassion’ by Dr. Kristin Neff
2. Self-compassion with Kristin Neff
3. The three components of self-compassion by Kristin Neff
4. Neff’s explanation on self-Compassion over self-esteem
5. Mindfulness and self-compassion by Dr. Kristin Neff
6. The science of self-compassion
7. Neff’s views on overcoming objections to self-compassion
8. On resilience and self-compassion by Dr. Neff
Dr. Neff’s Books on Self-Compassion (Incl. Amazon Links)
1. The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook
The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook is a consistent, deliberate, well-ordered methodology by Dr. Neff to acquaint us with the activities and exercises that help in structuring self-compassion.
Her exploration is vast, and an ideal approach to give the world a chance to gain from her findings by practicing the exercises she referenced in her manual. With meditative contents, daily activities, and mindfulness-based personal development tools, this aggregated version is appropriate for individuals of all ages and foundations.
2. Self-Compassion step-by-step
Self-Compassion step-by-step was one of the initial works of Kristin Neff that gained immense popularity for its groundbreaking revelations on how to embrace imperfections and master the art of self-compassion. It is undoubtedly a good read for someone who is and want to be more loving toward themselves.
3. The Self-Compassion Workbook for Teens
The Self-Compassion Workbook for Teens (here) is a collection of mindfulness and self-help tools to overcome negative self-judgment. It is an adaptation of the self-compassion workbook and is specially designed to cater to adolescent needs and motivations. The exercises and questions are helpful for young readers to understand their true potential and realize the value of being kind to the self.
4. The Science Of Mindfulness And Self-Compassion
The book Science of Mindfulness and Self-Compassion encompasses all areas of mental health that lack of compassion may lead to. The theoretical base and the practical mindful hacks mentioned help reduce anxiety, depression, trauma, and even physical pain. Readers agree that the contents of this book had proven benefits on improving emotional resilience, social awareness, relationships, and self-worth.
15 Quotes by Kristin Neff
When we give ourselves compassion, we are opening our hearts in a way that can transform our lives.
Unlike self-criticism which asks if you are good enough, self-compassion asks what’s good for you?
Having compassion for yourself means that you honor and accept your humanness.
Our successes and failures come and go – they neither define us nor do they define our worthiness.
Practice self-compassion. Talk to and be your own best, kind, compassionate, caring friend.
The more we resist the impact of what’s happening right now, the more we suffer.
Self-compassion reassures us that bad things happen, that we are so loved, and then encourages us to find a new routine.
Treat yourself as you would treat a good friend.
There’s almost no one whom we treat as badly as ourselves.
Self-compassion can lead to increased motivation, less depression, more optimism, greater happiness, more life satisfaction.
If we can consciously remind ourselves in moments of falling down that failure is part of the shared human experience, then that moment becomes one of togetherness rather than isolation.
Compassion is not only relevant to those who are blameless victims, but also to those whose suffering stems from failures, personal weakness, or bad decisions.
The goal of self-compassion practice is to become a compassionate mess. All of our issues – like entitlement, anger, and self-worth – will be there, but can we hold them with compassion so we are not overwhelmed by them?
Self-compassion is a way of emotionally recharging our batteries. Rather than becoming drained by helping others, self-compassion allows us to fill up our internal reserves, so that we have more to give to those who need us.
To give ourselves compassion, we first have to recognize that we are suffering. We can’t heal what we can’t feel.
A Take Home Message
Self-compassion lies in adoring ourselves enough to cherish those around us. Dr. Kristin Neff is for sure one of those committed experts who pursued this methodology and went past her lines to spread the message to as many individuals as she could.
Her exhibits demonstrate how easy loving ourselves can be, and what are the pathways that can lead us there. Encouragement, motivation, knowledge, and direction, all the fundamental counterparts of well-being is part of her research, and for those who genuinely want to sign up for a better life, self-compassion is undoubtedly the best point to begin the adventure.
- Gilbert (2009): Introducing compassion-focused therapy 199-208.
- Neff (2011). Self-compassion: Stop beating yourself up and leave insecurity behind.
- Neff and Faso (2014): Self-Compassion and Well-Being in Parents of Children with Autism. Mindfulness.
- Persinger: An Alternative to Self-Esteem- Fostering Self-Compassion in Youth.
- Thompson and Waltz (2008): Self-Compassion and PTSD Symptom Severity 556-558.
- Yarnell, Stafford, Neff, Reilly, Knox, and Mullarkey (2015): A Meta-Analysis of Gender Differences in Self-Compassion, Self and Identity.
- Neff, (2003a). "The development and validation of a scale to measure self-compassion". Self and Identity 223–250.
- Raes, Pommier, Neff, and Van Gucht(2011): Construction and factorial validation of a short form of the Self-Compassion Scale. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 250–255.
- Dembling ( 2015). "Feel better about yourself: Understanding the power of self-compassion".
- Chamberlain (2001): "Unconditional Self-Acceptance and Psychological Health" - Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy.
- Brown, Ryan (2003): "The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.