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.
This same article by Halvorson already pronounced the death of the self-esteem psychology. (See my comments here.) In the place of self-esteem, she is promoting self-compassion.
Count me as one of those who are are skeptical. How about a biblical view of self?
We are created in the image of God, but sin has distorted that image within us. Only by the gospel does God begin changing us more and more into a clearer image of God. This change will not be completed until we are glorified when Christ returns.
So our focus should not be on ourselves, but on Christ who redeems us.