The 3 Elements of Self-Compassion

Last Update on May 27, 2021 : Published on September 1, 2020

Compassion is the ability to show empathy and kindness to others in need of love and care. Self-compassion is the ability to show the same compassion to yourself in moments of stress and difficulty. When we are able to be gentle with ourselves, we are most likely to be able to help those in need of care.

“Unlike self-criticism, which asks if you’re good enough, self-compassion asks, what’s good for you?” – Dr. Kristin Neff

Self-compassionate individuals have more healthy psychology than others. Self-compassion is positively associated with life satisfaction, wisdom, happiness, and self-resilience. People with more empathy toward themselves have a lower tendency of self-criticism, depression, and anxiety.


3 Elements of Self-Compassion

1. Self Kindness VS. Self Judgment

When we treat ourselves with more respect and warmth when we are anxious or stressed, we have a greater sense of understanding and care for our own emotions. Self-compassionate individuals realize that failure and difficulties of life are inevitable and that they need to be gentle and caring toward themselves rather than criticize and judge themselves.

Over time, self-criticism becomes a part of our lives. We were quick to point out our shortcomings and faults to ourselves. This kind of thinking brings self-disdain and frustrations that create doubt. Self-judgment often overrides the self-kindness part of compassion that creates an environment where we treat ourselves with more criticism and hate than love and forgiveness.

Self Judgment
2. Common Humanity VS. Isolation

You are not alone in suffering. As part of human nature, we all are flawed and vulnerable and are likely to be affected by harsh realities. Understanding and accepting that you are not alone in your suffering help lessen feelings of isolation and aloneness. Self-compassion is recognizing that suffering and sadness is a part of shared human experience and is not yours alone.

Being compassionate with someone’s pain does not mean that you are pitying them. It means you understand their pain as your own, even if your situation is different from theirs. When you expand your awareness beyond yourself, you’ll realize that there are people out there who have been in your shoes.


3. Mindfulness VS. Over Identification

Mindfulness requires the non-judgmental observation of oneself. In order to avoid exaggerating negative feelings or suppressing them, a balanced approach to our emotions is needed. An open and kind observation of negative emotions can help when you put your suffering and distress into a larger perspective. Mindfulness needs that we are not over-identified by our negative feelings and emotions.

Mindfulness is not a temporary state. It is a way of living in which we are able to step back and be present in any situation. By being in a mindful state, we become more aware and observant of the challenging moments that arise.


Self-compassion means acceptance of the fact that every one of us is flawed and imperfect. It does not mean self-pity or weakness. By being compassionate toward yourself, you become more aware of other’s suffering. Treating yourself with kindness and love in times of stressful situations can create a swirl of positive emotions. People who are prone to depression and anxiety can follow simple self-compassion exercises.

Compassion toward self and others engages our capacity for love, wisdom, happiness, and courage.

Be happy and kind to yourself!

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About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.


  1. Kerin

    Wow! That is a beautiful read.

  2. Mark

    Thank you for sharing this useful information. Very well-written!

  3. Sanjay Kishore
    Sanjay Kishore

    Well written. This is very important and helpful in times of highly distressed state.

  4. Akash Dutt
    Akash Dutt

    Very well written, good work keep it up

  5. Amara Smith
    Amara Smith

    Kristin Neff, is first to define the term academically, also describes self-compassion athree elements.

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