How Is Self-Compassion or Self-Love Different from Self-Esteem?

June 29, 2016

Tori Olds, a therapist at Deep Eddy Psychotherapy in Austin, TX, talks about self-esteem versus self-compassion or self-love.

Self-esteem is judgment based

Here I am drawing on the work of Kristin Neff, Ph.D. She explores how self-esteem is judgment based. It’s liking myself because of X, Y and Z. That’s a more superficial level.

Self-compassion is about kindness and care

Self-compassion is more about kindness and care, because every human being deserves that kind of thing, not because I earned it, but just because I’m a person and life is hard. It’s about finding the empathy for that, just wanting to love and care for ourselves like we would for a friend.

It’s really amazing what we say to ourselves. If a friend said that same thing to us, or we were thinking of saying it to a friend, we would never say these things to our friend.

It’s Morality 101, yet we think it’s ok to do it for ourselves. I’ve tried to help people say, “Hey, we deserve to be treated well, everybody does, with respect and dignity.”

Self Esteem vs Self Love

The Difference Between Resume Virtues & Eulogy Virtues

There’s something in our culture where we solely push self-esteem. I was hearing it put by David Brooks in a lecture from him last night, and he was talking about the difference between resume virtues and eulogy virtues—what are the things that are us on paper?

Our culture is pretty much what we present so that we can feel good about those things and that’s self-esteem. What about just who we are, though? What about the innate human being inside of us that feels and dreams and has vulnerabilities and pains and struggles? Can we care about that part?

Self-compassion is caring more about that part of us, or all of it actually. Self-esteem is a little bit more shallowly focused. It’s nice to have it, but it’s also very important to have self-compassion.

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