A growing body of research, including new studies by Berkeley’s Juliana Breines and Serena Chen, suggest that self-compassion, rather than self-esteem, may be the key to unlocking your true potential for greatness.
Now, I know that some of you are already skeptical about a term like “self-compassion.” But this is a scientific, data-driven argument – not feel-good pop psychology. So hang in there and keep an open mind.
Self-compassion is a willingness to look at your own mistakes and shortcomings with kindness and understanding – it’s embracing the fact that to err is indeed human. When you are self-compassionate in the face of difficulty, you neither judge yourself harshly, nor feel the need to defensively focus on all your awesome qualities to protect your ego. It’s not surprising that self-compassion leads, as many studies show, to higher levels of personal well-being, optimism and happiness, and to less anxiety and depression.
But what about performance? Self-compassion may feel good, but aren’t the people who are harder on themselves, who are driven to always be the best, the ones who are ultimately more likely to succeed?
To answer that, it’s important to understand what self-compassion is not. While the spirit of self-compassion is to some degree captured in expressions like give yourself a break and cut yourself some slack, it is decidedly not the same thing as taking yourself off the hook or lowering the bar. You can be self-compassionate while still accepting responsibility for your performance. And you can be self-compassionate while striving for the most challenging goals – the difference lies not in where you want to end up, but in how you think about the ups and downs of your journey. As a matter of fact, if you are self-compassionate, new research suggests you are more likely to actually arrive at your destination.
Read the entire article here.
And related article
Many people who think of themselves as having low self-esteem don’t have chronically low self-esteem, their self-esteem is better described as fluctuating. They feel good when they’re having success and feel terrible when they’re not getting the response they desire from the world.
Here are some tips for smoothing out the bumps in your self-esteem AND having more success.