Self-Compassion: The Most Important Life Skill?

Editor’s note: A few highlights from a useful and good article.

And a budding field of research has psychologists are finding that self-compassion may be the most important life skill, imparting resilience, courage, energy and creativity.
Self-compassion is often misunderstood as being soft and indulgent;
psychologists have recently taken a step back. Re-examining previous research against more than a decade of new studies, some psychologists are suggesting the emphasis on self-esteem may be distracting us from a far more important life skill: self-compassion.
What is self-compassion?

“It is not this nimby, bimby stuff,” said Paul Gilbert, a researcher at Kingsway Hospital in the United Kingdom. “Compassion is sensitivity to the suffering of self and others and a commitment to do something about it.”

Self-compassion, as defined by Neff in the academic literature, has three aspects: mindfulness, common humanity and kindness.

Mindfulness is holding your own thoughts and feelings rather than suppressing or being carried away by them.
Common humanity, in part, is the understanding that your feelings and experiences are not completely unique. No matter how hard we try to avoid or hide them, all humans go through hardships and have daily pains, frustrations and disappointments.
Being kind to yourself is not only providing comfort in the moment; it is also committing, whenever possible, to reducing future instances of such suffering.
The problem with high self-esteem
Decades of research, particularly in the 1970s and ’80s, suggested having high self-esteem is the cornerstone of happy, successful lives. This spurred an emphasis on self-esteem-building in parenting books, schools and even prisons.

But now scientists are realizing they may have been measuring the wrong thing; all the benefits of having high self-esteem are equally found among the self-compassionate, said psychologist Mark Leary, a researcher at Duke University. And when statistically looking at self-compassion alone, the negative aspects of high self-esteem, such as narcissism, disappear.

Where self-compassion is a way of relating to your self — especially when times are tough — self-esteem is a measure of yourself against others. In order to keep self-esteem high, you have to convince yourself you are better (or, preferably, the best), either by denying your faults and pains or by putting others down, and usually both.
But putting such stress on maintaining high self-esteem can be problematic, Leary said. While often erroneously used as a source of comfort, self-esteem is supposed to guide us, telling us when to try harder or when to apologize, he said. It should work like the gas gauge in a car, Leary explained. “If you artificially get stuck on full, you are going to make bad judgments about when to fill your tank up.”

With or without self-esteem interventions, most people think they are better than average on just about every trait psychologists have bothered , including self-awareness, Neff explained. And today’s college students, according to a 2010 meta-analysis of past relevant research, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, are more narcissistic than they have ever been.

They may also be less resilient and more fragile psychologically, according to experts such as Hara Estroff Marano, author of “A Nation of Wimps” (Broadway, 2008). Kids who, say, grow up constantly hearing “You are so smart,” may start believing “smartness” is part of what makes them lovable. And therefore, anything that does not support this picture of themselves, such as a C on a test, a negative evaluation or a job rejection, causes them to become defensive, anxious or, in some extreme cases, completely fall apart, Marano contends.

Rather than continuing to put stock in building self-esteem, psychologists are increasingly finding, as Gilbert put it, “the secret to success is the ability to fail.” And this is exactly where self-compassion steps in.

Will self-compassion make me lazy?

Due to our ever-increasing competitive societies, researchers speculate the tendency to choose self-punishment, rather than self-compassion, is on the rise. People often believe that punishing themselves will keep them in line and ultimately keep them safe.
Unfortunately, self-criticism can lead to generalized hostility (toward oneself and others), anxiety and depression; these are problems that can handicap people from reaching their full potential.

Self-critics also report feeling like they have lower energy levels, researchers have found, and often subconsciously engage in self-handicapping strategies, such as procrastination, Neff told LiveScience.

Turning instead to the side that will offer a mental hug may sound soft. And according to Neff, the most common fear about becoming self-compassionate is that it will lower performance standards and encourage laziness. But researchers have found that self-compassionate people are actually less likely to sit on the couch all day eating bonbons.

“Self-compassion begins to sound like you are indulging yourself, but we don’t find that. People high in self-compassion tend to have higher standards, work harder and take more personal responsibility for their actions,” Leary said.

Presumably because they are not afraid of being mentally taken through the ringer, researchers also think self-compassionate people may be more aware of their own faults, have more courage and be more motivated to persevere. Those with self-compassion may even open access to higher levels of creative thinking, suggests one 2010 study in the Creativity Research Journal.
the compassion-giving system also makes sure your goals are actually in your best interest. In other words, it gently nudges you away from “striving” that is fueled by addictive behaviors, such as greed, unhealthy eating and substance abuse and towards goals motivated by desires for greater health and well-being for yourself and others.
Self-compassion encourages a person’s “drive” while also giving it focus and healthy, wholesome boundaries. “The soothing system,” as Gilbert put it, “gives the context for the striving.”

Robin Nixon LiveScience Staff Writer
Date: 15 May 2011 Time: 09:03 AM ET


This would be a good time to remind everyone of basic security.

This would be a good time to remind everyone of basic security.

As we are downloading from people, we may or may not know. One thing for sure, we are not certain where everyone has stuck, or is sticking their computers along the Internet tubes. Nor their extent of protection used while probing the great vast space of the Internet. Depending on your own internet situation, extra precaution is in order.

This site and others that clearly show who has or has not donated provides information to would be criminals. Whoever has donated, most likely they have a PayPal account.

A simple hack of the site as have occurred in the past, would provide the mailing list for those registered. That list and other data gleaned while the site was in exploit mode is useful to sell to help fund the operations of the criminal. Or used directly not only for theft but also for Business Intelligence. In addition, a criminal applying social engineering can corrupt, mislead, or force person/s into doing things they otherwise might not do.

Keep in mind, not only this site, but other sites you attend, like Sony’s recent breach of Playstation.
I know some of you are thinking OMG there is no way to be safe and have a life. Security is a commodity. Most of us do not want nor can take the time and money to have an unbreachable system. And quite honestly, no system is unbreachable including the one’s behind locked doors not connect to the internet.

What there are is unknown systems. Moreover, being unknown is relatively free for most people.
That sounds like you have to be a masked freak all the time and you do not want to do that. You want to be free, you want to make friends, be friends, and have a social life. I feel ya. I want, also!
Here is the solution that will work for most people.


Never use facts for your security questions. Do not give your mother’s maiden name, your hometown, or anything of that nature. Instead, choose a password. Do not use this password anywhere else on the web. Create three of them. You have high, middle, and low-level security zones. Security is fluid. Do not hesitate to move different parts of your life into different zones. Do not write these down anywhere. However, if you must, write them on paper and place them behind lock and key. Do not write “super secret passwords” on top of the list. A name and random looking addresses will do. You will know what they are. So will your significant other, when they ask what those are while rifling through important papers, but that is another topic… :biggrin:

You now no longer have to worry about talking about your childhood, family, or other such stuff in general conversation. You can tell that story about how your first pet, Fido ate your second pet in a rose bed and that is why that is your favorite flower. Or answer those silly data-mining-who-are-you questionnaires. OMG, you almost feel like a real person again. You cannot wait to start telling the world about just who you are and why. Glad to help

Now that you have removed personal information as your access to your online identity giving you one less known key, let us get the other keys just as unknown.

Remember the best security is the criminal not knowing.

However, how do you throw off an on-the-hunt criminal, or a nosy neighbor?

You want to be social, you want to have places to go, and you want to connect.


Your passwords into the cyber word let you be you. You must have a 100 of them and your comment about how fast grass grows is important! You got to get on!

To create secure passwords use a formula, a recipe so to speak, I will show you an example.

I would again create three levels.

Let us create a password:
Select a phrase such as:
Blue dogs named Sam have feet

Smash it, keep the capitols, and sprinkle a few numbers
You can use a shorter one for example Arr3st3d

Choose two letters from the site you are visiting or making home.

We will use Roth Army as an example.
Choose the first and last letter, the first two letters, or fourth and sixth letters. It does not matter what two or three, just keep it consistent so you know which ones. You will place these letters somewhere in your passphrase.

For example, I will take the ‘my’ from
I will take these letters and tack them somewhere in my phrase. I am going to choose for this example to place them after the first 3.

There you go, a unique password for every place

Here is an again in a nutshell
4uniquePhrasewith(place select letters into the phrase)cap1tolsandnumberswithaplacementofselectlettersofthesiteyouarevisiting.

Your password is your key. Don’t let it get breeched.
Here is a how long using a brute force program to hack your password.

[CENTER]Password Length/ All Characters/ Only Lowercase
3 characters/ 0.86 seconds/ 0.02 seconds
4 characters/ 1.36 minutes./ 046 seconds
5 characters/ 2.15 hours/ 11.9 seconds
6 characters/ 8.51 days/ 5.15 minutes
7 characters/ 2.21 years/ 2.23 hours
8 characters/ 2.10 centuries/ 2.42 days
9 characters/ 20 millennia/ 2.07 months
10 characters/ 1,899 millennia/
11 characters/ 180,365 millennia/
12 characters/ 17,184,705 millennia/
13 characters/ 1,627,797,068 millennia/
14 characters/ 154,640,721,434 millennia/ [/CENTER]

Roth Army defends against brute force, but lesser sites might not. And you might use that password here.

You say that does not matter. Nobody knows where I go or bank. Well that file you just downloaded from Billy Bob, who uses little to no security while visiting Russian Mafia sites, got a brief peek-a-boo into your system with a lesser known hack before you or your system shut it down. Now those cookies are only a password away from in. :umm:

Data logging is a whole other fiend, and best dealt with by using separate computers on separate intra and Internet networks and are topics unto themselves.