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Best 65 Self-Compassion Quotes

Self-Compassion Quotes

This post contains some of the best self-compassion quotes.

What Is Self-Compassion?

As human beings, we will fail and make mistakes. When we do, most of us engage in self-blame and dismiss the fact that failure is a normal part of being human.

Perhaps when you made mistakes in the past, you’ve heard your judgmental mind saying things like “What’s wrong with you?” or, “This is all your fault,” or, “You should have known better.”

Drs. Neff and Germer (2018) are pioneers in the field of self-compassion who have developed a mindful self-compassion (MSC) program that is based on their research.

They describe self-compassion as “being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism.”

In their model, self-compassion includes:

  • being aware that you are suffering
  • comforting or soothing yourself just like you would a friend, and
  • recognizing that hardship is shared humanity and we’re not alone in our suffering.

People who practice self-compassion tend to be more self-aware.

They experience less anxiety and depression.

Related: How To Be Gentle With Yourself? Top 5 Ways To Practice Self-Compassion

Self-Compassion Quotes

1. “Almost all of us feel like inadequate parents. Which is why self-compassion is so important for parents. It can help shift our inner dialogue from constant self-blame and self-criticism to acceptance, kindness, and appreciation. It can help us see that we are just as deserving of kindness and understanding as our children, friends, and other loved ones.” – Susan M. Pollak

2. “Although self-compassion sounds like a pretty simple idea, it isn’t easy for most of us. Instead, we have a tendency to judge and criticize ourselves for any way that we fail to measure up to our idealized standards. Even those of us who really value self-compassion can be downright mean to ourselves sometimes.” – Tim Desmond

3. “By giving ourselves unconditional kindness and comfort while embracing the human experience, difficult as it is, we avoid destructive patterns of fear, negativity, and isolation. At the same time, self-compassion fosters positive mind-states such as happiness and optimism. The nurturing quality of self-compassion allows us to flourish, to appreciate the beauty and richness of life, even in hard times. When we soothe our agitated minds with self-compassion, we’re better able to notice what’s right as well as what’s wrong, so that we can orient ourselves toward that which gives us joy.” – Kristen Neff

4. “Common humanity is the component of self-compassion that tells us that what we feel and experience is normal and to be expected. Just like we feel joy, excitement, pleasure, and love, we are also faced with the other side of emotions—those “negative” emotions. This is how it works to be human—we feel the full range of emotions, from the very greatest pleasure to the deepest despair.” – Karen Bluth

Related: Best 18 Self Compassion Journal Prompts (+FREE Worksheets)

5. “Common humanity, one of the foundations of self-compassion, can help as well. It is a relief to realize that we all have hard times and we all suffer. During these times we often judge ourselves harshly, isolate, and suppress what we are feeling. You are not alone in having this reaction. It is universal. But withdrawing is not the answer and can increase our suffering.” – Susan M. Pollak

6. “Compassion naturally leads to action. If we see that our baby is hungry, we don’t just empathize with her hunger. We feed her. Although self-compassion can be a powerful force with no explicit action accompanying it, it’s also important to remember that real compassion sometimes dictates that we make a concrete change to some aspect of our lives.” – Tim Desmond

7. “Happiness is found when we go with the flow of life, not when we rail against it, and self-compassion can help us navigate these turbulent rapids with a wise, accepting heart.” – Kristen Neff

8. “If you feel that you lack sufficient self-compassion, check in with yourself—are you criticizing yourself for this, too? If so, stop right there. Try to feel compassion for how difficult it is to be an imperfect human being in this extremely competitive society of ours. Our culture does not emphasize self-compassion, quite the opposite. We’re told that no matter how hard we try, our best just isn’t good enough. It’s time for something different. We can all benefit by learning to be more self-compassionate, and now is the perfect time to start.” – Kristen Neff

9. “In many ways self-compassion is like magic, because it has the power to transform suffering into joy.” – Kristen Neff

Related: Self-Compassion Quiz (+FREE Self-Compassion Resources)

10. “In order to know how to be self-compassionate, it’s helpful to know what our core values are. That way, when we’re stuck and confused about which way to go with a decision that we have to make, we can come back to our core values. Also, because we are social beings, we may be influenced by others, or even find ourselves living in a way that might not be in agreement with—or, worse, go against—our core values. When this happens, we can feel disoriented, stressed, and upset with ourselves, and our self-critical voice can emerge. Knowing what our core values are can orient our lives and guide our actions.” – Karen Bluth

11. “In recognizing the shared nature of our imperfection, self-compassion provides the sense of connectedness needed to truly thrive and reach our full potential. Instead of looking outside ourselves for a sense of acceptance and belonging, we can directly satisfy these needs by looking within.” – Kristen Neff

12. “It probably comes as no surprise then that our research shows people who are insecurely attached have less self-compassion than those who are securely attached. In other words, our internal working models of self have a significant impact on how we treat ourselves—with compassion or contempt. And if our internal working models tell us that we can’t rely on others to be there for us in times of need, we will not allow ourselves to depend on them.” – Kristen Neff

13. “Learning self-compassion isn’t a “get out of jail free” card. It is about accepting that we are all imperfect parents. There is no need to dwell on the mistakes, to replay them endlessly in your mind, or to spiral down into a black hole of shame and regret. Beating yourself up doesn’t help anyone.” – Susan M. Pollak

14. “Many people assume that self-compassion is just a feel-good warm fuzzy—a way to coddle ourselves and nothing more. But healing and growth are not served by such superficial treatment. Unlike self-criticism, which asks if you’re good enough, self-compassion asks what’s good for you? Self-compassion taps into your inner desire to be healthy and happy. If you care about yourself, you’ll do what you need to do to in order to learn and grow. You’ll want to change unhelpful patterns of behavior, even if that means giving up certain things you like for a while.” – Kristen Neff

Related: Top 18 Self Esteem Exercises (+FREE CBT For Self-Esteem Worksheets PDF)

15. “Mindfulness brings us back to the present moment and provides the type of balanced awareness that forms the foundation of self-compassion. Like a clear, still pool without ripples, mindfulness perfectly mirrors what’s occurring without distortion. Rather than becoming lost in our own personal soap opera, mindfulness allows us to view our situation with greater perspective and helps to ensure that we don’t suffer unnecessarily.” – Kristen Neff

16. “Mindfulness is the foundation of self-compassion. We need mindfulness to notice that we are in pain before we can attend to it with kindness. It helps us get some distance from the drama of the story and helps us to not ruminate about what someone said or did. If we aren’t aware of what is happening in the present moment, and what we are feeling, we are more likely to numb out with another beer or two, or an extra slice of pumpkin pie with a scoop of ice cream, rather than attend to what is making us upset.” – Susan M. Pollak

17. “Not only does self-compassion provide a powerful motivational engine for change, it also provides the clarity needed to know what needs changing in the first place. Research indicates that people who suffer from shame and self-judgment are more likely to blame others for their moral failures. Who wants to admit their inadequacies when it means facing the attack dogs of self-criticism? It’s easier to sweep things under the rug or point your finger at someone else.” – Kristen Neff

18. “One of the most robust and consistent findings in the research literature is that people who are more self-compassionate tend be less anxious and depressed. The relationship is a strong one, with self-compassion explaining one-third to one-half of the variation found in how anxious or depressed people are. This means that self-compassion is a major protective factor for anxiety and depression.” – Kristen Neff

Related: How To Start A Self Love Journey? Top 10 Powerful Ways to Love Yourself More

19. “One of the remarkable benefits of self-compassion is that it helps us develop resilience. As we become more accepting of our flaws, of the fact that we can’t control our bodies, our children, our parents, or our partners, we become more able to accept uncertainty and to relax with things as they are, not as we want them to be. We learn not to hold on so tightly and to begin to let go of our agenda for how things should be.” – Susan M. Pollak

20. “Remember that self-compassion doesn’t eradicate pain or negative experiences, it just embraces them with kindness and gives them space to transform on their own. When people practice self-compassion as a subtle way of resisting their negative emotions, not only will the bad feelings remain, they will often get worse.” – Kristen Neff

21. “Research shows that people who are more self-compassionate have more emotional intelligence, meaning they are better able to maintain emotional balance when flustered.” – Kristen Neff

22. “Research shows that people with higher levels of self-compassion are significantly less likely to suppress unwanted thoughts and emotions than those who lack self-compassion. They’re more willing to experience their difficult feelings and to acknowledge that their emotions are valid and important. This is because of the safety provided by self-compassion. It’s not as scary to confront emotional pain when you know that you will be supported throughout the process. Just as it feels easier to open up to a close friend whom you can rely on to be caring and understanding, it’s easier to open up to yourself when you can trust that your pain will be held in compassionate awareness.” – Kristen Neff

Related: Top 5 Self Love Exercises (+FREE Self-Love Resources)

23. “Research shows that self-compassionate people tend to experience fewer negative emotions—such as fear, irritability, hostility, or distress—than those who lack self-compassion. These emotions still come up, but they aren’t as frequent, long lasting, or persistent. This is partly because self-compassionate people have been found to ruminate much less than those who lack self-compassion.” – Kristen Neff

24. “Rumination is often fueled by feelings of fear, shame, and inadequacy. Because self-compassion directly counters these insecurities, it can help unravel the knot of negative rumination as surely as detangling spray.” – Kristen Neff

25. “Self-compassion can help us move away from shame and self-criticism by helping us realize that we all have strengths and weaknesses, we are all vulnerable and imperfect.” – Susan M. Pollak

26. “Self-compassion can help us realize that we all fail and that it is part of the experience of life. Rather than fall into despair, we can learn from difficult experiences.” – Susan M. Pollak

27. “Self-compassion does not try to capture and define the worth or essence of who we are. It is not a thought or a label, a judgment or an evaluation. Instead, self-compassion is a way of relating to the mystery of who we are. Rather than managing our self-image so that it is always palatable, self-compassion honors the fact that all human beings have both strengths and weaknesses. Rather than getting lost in thoughts of being good or bad, we become mindful of our present moment experience, realizing that it is ever changing and impermanent. Our successes and failures come and go—they neither define us nor do they determine our worthiness. They are merely part of the process of being alive. Our minds may try to convince us otherwise, but our hearts know that our true value lies in the core experience of being a conscious being who feels and perceives.” – Kristen Neff

Related: Top 45 Self Care Day Ideas at Home To Kickstart Your Self Care Ritual

28. “Self-compassion doesn’t just amount to letting ourselves off the hook. Rather, by softening the blow of self-judgment and recognizing our imperfect humanity, we can see ourselves with much greater honesty and clarity. Maybe we do tend to overreact, to be irresponsible, to be passive, to be controlling, and so on. In order to work on these patterns and help ourselves (and others) suffer less because of them, we need to acknowledge our shortcomings. We need to recognize how we have harmed others in order to heal the wounds we have caused.” – Kristen Neff

29. “Self-compassion doesn’t mean that I think my problems are more important than yours, it just means I think that my problems are also important and worthy of being attended to.” – Kristen Neff

Self-Compassion Worksheets (1)

30. “Self-compassion gives us the calm courage needed to face our unwanted emotions head-on. Because escape from painful feelings is not actually possible, our best option is to clearly but compassionately experience our difficult emotions just as they are in the present moment. Given that all experiences eventually come to an end, if we can allow ourselves to remain present with our pain, it can go through its natural bell-curve cycle— arising, peaking, and fading away.” – Kristen Neff

31. “Self-compassion helps lessen the hold of negative emotions, but it’s important to remember that self-compassion does not push negative emotions away in an aversive manner either.” – Kristen Neff

32. “Self-compassion helps us cultivate new tools so that we can relate more effectively to our difficult emotions when they inevitably arise.” – Susan M. Pollak

Related: How Confident Am I Quiz (+Best 13 Practical Tools To Feel More Confident)

33. “Self-compassion honors the fact that all human beings are fallible, that wrong choices and feelings of regret are inevitable, no matter how high and mighty one is. (As the saying goes, a clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.)” – Kristen Neff

34. “Self-compassion inspires us to pursue our dreams and creates the brave, confident, curious, and resilient mind-set that allows us to actually achieve them.” – Kristen Neff

35. “Self-compassion is a gift available to anyone willing to open up to themselves. When we develop the habit of self-kindness, suffering becomes an opportunity to experience love and tenderness from within. No matter how difficult things get, we can always wrap our torn and tattered selves in our own soft embrace. We can soothe and comfort our own pain, just as a child is soothed and comforted by her mother’s arms. We don’t have to wait until we are perfect, until life goes exactly as we want it to. We don’t need others to respond with care and compassion in order to feel worthy of love. We don’t need to look outside ourselves for the acceptance and security we crave.” – Kristen Neff

36. “Self-compassion is a healthy way of relating to ourselves when things get tough. And when you’re a parent, that may feel like most of the time. While it can take courage to look at ourselves and to acknowledge our imperfections, accepting ourselves as we are, it can also transform our lives and those of our families.” – Susan M. Pollak

Related: Top +100 Journal Prompts For Mental Health [+Free PDF Printable!]

37. “Self-compassion is actually very different from the concept of self-esteem. Whereas self-esteem is about evaluating oneself positively, self-compassion is about relating to oneself with a kind and forgiving attitude.” – Tim Desmond

38. “Self-compassion is an incredibly powerful tool for dealing with difficult emotions. It can free us from the destructive cycle of emotional reactivity that so often rules our lives.” – Kristen Neff

39. “Self-compassion is intimately related to the practice of mindfulness, both of which have garnered deep respect from some of the most influential voices in the mental health field.” – Tim Desmond

40. “Self-compassion provides an island of calm, a refuge from the stormy seas of endless positive and negative self-judgment, so that we can finally stop asking, “Am I as good as they are? Am I good enough?” Right here at our fingertips we have the means to provide ourselves with the warm, supportive care we deeply yearn for. By tapping into our inner well-springs of kindness, acknowledging the shared nature of our imperfect human condition, we can start to feel more secure, accepted, and alive.” – Kristen Neff

41. “Self-compassion rests on a foundation of mindfulness. We learn to be present with whatever is happening, rather than to go into denial or put our heads in the sand. We often need courage and strength to do this. However, mindfulness gives us the space to step outside our immediate reactions and gain some perspective.” – Susan M. Pollak

42. “Self-compassion teaches us that we are worthy just as we are. That we don’t have to be better than others to be valuable and valued, and that we can be ourselves—human flaws and all—and make a positive difference in others’ lives and in the world. Contrary to the message that “Be a man” carries, self-compassion says to “Be yourself.”” – Karen Bluth

Related: Lack Of Self Awareness: 5 Signs & 5 Tips On How To Increase Self-Awareness

43. “Self-compassion works with the inner critic, so that it gets smaller and weaker, and sometimes even seems to have disappeared into the woodwork.” – Karen Bluth

44. “Self-compassionate people have also been found to procrastinate less than those lacking self-compassion. This is partly because they report being less worried about how others view their performances, and thus don’t require a plausible excuse for failing.” – Kristen Neff

45. “Shame is a universal emotion, and it is often most intense in adolescence. Fortunately, self-compassion is an antidote to this difficult emotion.” – Susan M. Pollak

46. “So why is self-compassion a more effective motivator than self-criticism? Because its driving force is love not fear. Love allows us to feel confident and secure (in part by pumping up our oxytocin), while fear makes us feel insecure and jittery (sending our amygdala into overdrive and flooding our systems with cortisol). When we trust ourselves to be understanding and compassionate when we fail, we won’t cause ourselves unnecessary stress and anxiety. We can relax knowing that we’ll be accepted regardless of how well or how poorly we do.” – Kristen Neff

Related: How To Feel Your Feelings? Top 9 Difficult Emotions To Cope With In Healthy Ways

47. “The beauty of self-compassion is that instead of replacing negative feelings with positive ones, new positive emotions are generated by embracing the negative ones. The positive emotions of care and connectedness are felt alongside our painful feelings. When we have compassion for ourselves, sunshine and shadow are both experienced simultaneously. This is important—ensuring that the fuel of resistance isn’t added to the fire of negativity. It also allows us to celebrate the entire range of human experience, so that we can become whole. As Marcel Proust said, “We are healed from suffering only by experiencing it to the full.”” – Kristen Neff

48. “The first thing to know is that self-compassion and self-esteem do tend to go together. If you’re self-compassionate, you’ll tend to have higher self-esteem than if you’re endlessly self-critical. And like high self-esteem—self-compassion is associated with significantly less anxiety and depression, as well as more happiness, optimism, and positive emotions. However, self-compassion offers clear advantages over self-esteem when things go wrong, or when our egos are threatened.” – Kristen Neff

49. “The more self-compassionate versus self-critical that people were, the lower their cortisol levels and the higher their heart rate variability. This suggests that self-compassionate people are able to deal with the challenges life throws their way with greater emotional equanimity.” – Kristen Neff

50. “There are many ways that we can apply self-compassion. If we look at the big picture, we realize that many of our good qualities are the result of many people and situations in our lives—our parents, our families, our teachers and mentors. So many factors have shaped who we are. Therefore, appreciating our good qualities isn’t an act of narcissism; it is an act of connection and an acknowledgment of our interdependence.” – Susan M. Pollak

Related: The Difference Between Pain And Suffering (+Top 4 Tips On How To Embrace Pain & Stop Suffering)

51. “There are three parts to self-compassion: mindfulness, common humanity, and self-kindness. Mindfulness is noticing what’s happening— your feelings, physical sensations, and thoughts—in the moment that they’re happening. It’s about having a balanced perspective and not freaking out when things aren’t going the way that we’d like them to, because we know that whatever is happening isn’t going to last forever. Common humanity is understanding that what we’re going through is simply part of being human, and something we all experience. And self-kindness is just what it sounds like—being kind to ourselves, especially when we most need it.” – Karen Bluth

52. “Those with higher levels of self-compassion were more likely to say they felt happy, relaxed, and peaceful while watching themselves make up the silly story. Those who lacked self-compassion were more likely to feel sad, embarrassed, or nervous.” – Kristen Neff

53. “Viewing oneself as better than another person or being overly involved with one’s own needs at the expense of another’s is not practicing self-compassion. This kind of egotism comes from conflating self-compassion with self-esteem.” – Tim Desmond

Related: Best 7 Books On How To Control Your Emotions

54. “We model self-compassion for our children so they can learn to treat themselves kindly when things are not going well. This then becomes a resource that they can call upon throughout their lives, helping them become more resilient and resourceful.” – Susan M. Pollak

55. “What are we talking about when we talk about self-compassion? Self-compassion is about being kind to ourselves when we’re having a hard time, when something happens that makes us feel really awful. We know what compassion is—we’ve heard about compassion our whole lives. Compassion is about being kind and caring to others, particularly when they’re struggling. Self-compassion, then, is turning that kindness and caring toward ourselves. I know, that may sound like selfishness or self-indulgence. But truthfully—and we know this from research—when we’re kinder to ourselves, we are better able to be kind toward others.” – Karen Bluth

56. “What effect does practicing self-compassion have on your brain? The short answer is that it strengthens the parts of your brain that make you happier, more resilient, and more attuned to others. It can also comfort negative emotions in the present and even permanently heal painful memories from the past or change negative core beliefs.” – Tim Desmond

57. “What makes self-esteem different from self-compassion is that self-esteem is about a value judgment: We judge ourselves as good or bad, better or worse. On the other hand, when we focus on self-compassion, it doesn’t really matter how we compare to other people. What matters is kindness and seeing ourselves clearly.” – Tim Desmond

Related: Forgiving Someone Who Isn’t Sorry: 9-Step Guide To Free Yourself From The Past

58. “When we’re in touch with our common humanity, we remember that feelings of inadequacy and disappointment are shared by all. This is what distinguishes self-compassion from self-pity. Whereas self-pity says “poor me,” self-compassion remembers that everyone suffers, and it offers comfort because everyone is human. The pain I feel in difficult times is the same pain that you feel in difficult times. The triggers are different, the circumstances are different, the degree of pain is different, but the process is the same. You can’t always get what you want. This is true for everyone, even the Rolling Stones.” – Kristen Neff

59. “While increasing our mindfulness skills is an important way to foster self-compassion, the two other components of self-compassion—self-kindness and common humanity—also enhance our ability to be mindful, creating a positive and self-reinforcing cycle. One of the enemies of mindfulness is the process of over-identification—becoming so carried away by our personal drama that we can’t clearly see what is occurring in the present moment.” – Kristen Neff

60. “While mindfulness can help with difficult experiences, self-compassion moves directly to the experiencer—the sense that one’s very self is under attack. Seeing the entire picture can help reduce the pain. We all have strengths and weaknesses, situations where we excel and others where we struggle. A saying that can help is “I’m not perfect, but some parts of me are excellent.”” – Susan M. Pollak

61. “Yes, of course we get upset. And we all lose it! The list is endless and we all melt down. Self-compassion is about giving yourself a break and making a fresh start. Remember, parenting is an impossible profession.” – Susan M. Pollak

62. “Self-compassion provides the emotional safety needed to take responsibility for our actions, consider their impact on others, and sincerely apologize for our behavior.” – Kristen Neff

Related: Listen to Your Inner Guidance: A Beginner’s Guide To Meditation

63. “Our research shows that self-compassion allows us to feel others’ pain without becoming overwhelmed by it. In other words, when we recognize how difficult it is sometimes to be there for people who are struggling, and comfort ourselves in the process, we are able to be stronger, more stable, and resilient when supporting others in their suffering. This is an especially important skill for those who deal with others’ problems for a living.” – Kristen Neff

64. “When caregivers have self-compassion, they are also more likely to engage in concrete acts of self-care such as taking time off, sleeping more, and eating well. They’ll stop to care for their own emotional needs, recognizing how difficult it is to deal with such a high level of suffering on a daily basis. The hardships of being a caregiver are just as valid and worthy of compassion as the hardships of being a trauma victim. Certainly there are differences in how debilitating and intense the pain is, but all pain deserves to be held in the warm embrace of compassion, so that healing can occur.” – Kristen Neff

65. “Self-compassion is a way of emotionally recharging our batteries. Rather than becoming drained by helping others, self-compassion allows us to fill up our internal reserves, so that we have more to give to those who need us. It’s like those little videos they always show on planes before takeoff, which tell adults to put on their own oxygen mask before helping children to put on theirs. We need to have a steady supply of compassion available to ourselves in order to have adequate resources to share with others. If we’re knocked flat on our backs because our own resources are depleted, what use are we to those who rely on us? In many ways, then, self-compassion is an altruistic act, because it puts us into the optimal mental and emotional mind-set to help others in a sustainable, long-lasting way.” – Kristen Neff

Related: Best 11 Exercises To Help You Beat Imposter Syndrome (+FREE Worksheets)

By Hadiah

Hadiah is a counselor who is passionate about supporting individuals on their journey towards mental well-being. Hadiah not only writes insightful articles on various mental health topics but also creates engaging and practical mental health worksheets.

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