Loving - Connected - Presence
Mindful Self-compassion is an 8-week program that cultivates awareness and self-compassion. The program consists of eight weekly sessions of 2,5 hours and a half day practice day halfway the program. There is also daily homework and you’re asked for your serious intention and effort to attend all sessions. Prior to the training, you will meet the trainer during an individual interview – to make sure you know what it is all about!
What is self-compassion?
Self-compassion has similar qualities as compassion for others. In order to have compassion for someone else, you must first notice their suffering. You can feel how difficult his or her experience is. Second, there is a warm, caring quality in relating to someone else's pain, and a desire to help in some way. Last but not least, kindness and understanding is also offered when the other person makes mistakes or fails, rather than reacting judgmentally and harsh.
Self-compassion is acting towards yourself in a similar way, in times of difficulty, when you feel bad about yourself.
For many of us, criticizing and judging ourselves has become a habit, through which we try and motivate ourselves. And in reality, it is our human condition, that in life we will encounter losses, make mistakes, and experience our own limitations. With self-compassion we bring a kind and understanding attitude when we get confronted with personal failings. In the end, don’t we all face those moments at some stage? We were not supposed to be perfect.
Mindful Self-compassion teaches you to become your own kind, caring and compassionate friend.
What are the benefits of Self-compassion?*
People that are self-compassionate are less anxious and depressed, have less tendency to focus on the negative and ruminate less.
Opting out of the Self-Esteem game
Self-esteem only works when things go well. Self-compassion steps in when self-esteem lets us down and supports us even when things go wrong.
Motivation and Personal growth
There is a belief that self-criticism can be a motivator. But often it is a demoralizing whip and undermines self-esteem, thus self-handicapping. Self-compassion is more effective as a motivator. It is a driving force based on love and not on fear.
Components of Self-compassion
Self-compassion has three key components on which the program builds.
The cultivation of acting gently and understanding rather than harsh and with critical self-judgment. We have a natural ability to care and we can actively bring that care to ourselves.
Opens up to the reality that things are not perfect. That reality allows the experience to be shared with others and counterbalances for a common reaction of shame and isolation after feeling inadequate. Perfection is an illusion, we learn through our imperfections.
Awareness of what is happening in the present moment allows us to recognize our own suffering and turn towards that pain with a non-judgmental stance.
What Self-Compassion is not?*
Self-compassionate people are more likely to engage in perspective-taking and less likely to ruminate.
Self-compassionate people are better able to cope with tough situations, trauma or chronic pain.
Self-compassionate people are more caring and supportive, more compromising, and more compassionate towards others.
Self-compassionate people show healthier behaviors, eat better, drink less, and go to doctor more regularly.
Self-compassionate people take greater personal responsibility for their actions and are more likely to apologize.
Self-compassionate people don’t beat themselves up with they fail, are less afraid of failure, and more likely to try again and persist after failing.
* There is solid research on the benefits of cultivation of self-compassion. See for more information and research publications www.selfcompassion.org.
Mindful Self-compassion is the 8-week program as designed by the originators Kristin Neff and Chris Germer. Find more information on the program on the website of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion on www.selfcompassion.org and www.centerformsc.org.
Nicole Flinterman, a mindfulness educator and coach, holds a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology is a Category mindfulness instructor through the Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School which was founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn, the originator of MBSR. She is also a qualified MSC teacher trained by the originators of the MSC program, Kristin Neff and Chris Germer.