Living with Chronic Pain

What Is Self-Compassion?


Self-compassion is the act of treating oneself with empathy and kindness. People who show self-compassion are able to notice when they are struggling, understand that this is a shared human experience, and show grace to themselves. Many people battle with this, or believe it is a sign of narcissism or weakness. Contrary to belief, self-compassion actually requires a considerable amount of inner strength. It also helps with developing coping strategies that build resilience. Self-compassion consists of three elements: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.


This facet of self-compassion requires a person to feel warmth and understanding. Self-kindness involves realizing that failing and imperfections are a fact of life, accepting that they happen, and avoiding self-blame or criticism. Showing oneself sympathy and allowing for mistakes is an important part of self-kindness.

Common humanity

Self-compassion also includes common humanity. Isolation is often experienced when someone makes a mistake or suffers, causing them to feel alone. Common humanity is the ability to recognize that suffering and failure are a part of the human experience. It does not make anyone inferior to others.


When uncomfortable emotions occur, many people either suppress them or magnify them. Mindfulness involves focusing on the present and observing inner thoughts and feelings without judgment. Compassion is impossible without allowing the feeling of pain. Although, over-identification with painful thoughts and feelings can create reactivity in a person. Mindfulness helps to find a healthy balance.

Additional source: Self-Compassion

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